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Spanner in the Works? Men’s Health Promotion

A Men’s Health initiative by the Australian Men’s Shed Association & Healthy Male


Many Aussie men are not very good at looking after ourselves physically or emotionally. Physically, if we have an ache or pain, our attitude is often that of “I’ll battle through this” or “I’ll wait a while and see if this gets better by itself”. For most of us we get away with this most of the time. Only when the aches or pains or emotions are overpowering us do we make the decision to do something about it and get it checked out by a doctor or other Health Professional.

Health is complex – we can tend to become overwhelmed with information about our health. “Spanner in the Works” is an attempt to provide some key health messages to us men in a form that is understandable and achievable. “Spanner in the Works?” is not about telling men what to do but sets out some things that men can do (or not do) to improve their health and their chances of a longer and happier life. It gives men the opportunity to make adjustments as they see fit. Often minor adjustments can have a major impact on health, relationships with loved ones and friends and work.

To help to address this situation the Australian Men’s Shed Association has put together a men friendly health screening and information project called “Spanner in the Works?”. The program has the following main aims:

  • Provide some basic health screening and advice to men:
  • utilising the staff resources of the local health service.
  • within the “men friendly” environment of the Men’s Shed
  • referral on of men to health professionals (as appropriate)
  • Provide “men friendly” health information and health awareness through the “Spanner in the Works?” booklet.
  • Have local men and shedders engage with their local health service providers
  • Have local men (non ‘shedders’) engage with their local Men’s Shed
  • Have local health service providers and local Men’s Shed engage with each other

Running “Spanner in the Works”

What to do if your shed would like to run “Spanner in the Works?”

Step 1

Consult with the shedders from your shed to decide whether your shed wishes to run a “Spanner in the Works?” event. This link will provide the information you need to make this decision – Overall Outline. It will take some time and effort on the part of your shed.

Step 2

Contact your local Health Service to get them involved. You will need some of their staff to be able to carry out the screening process and advise participants re their health needs. When looking for you local Health Services they might be called:

  • Community Health Service/Centre
  • Primary Health Care Service/Centre
  • Population Health Service/Centre
  • Health Promotion Service/Centre

You may also wish to try your local GP/Doctors Practice. If you are unsuccessful with one organisation then try another. Health organisations do like to have plenty of notice so talk to them early.

Our Health Speakers and Information Contact Guide February 2020 is a comprehensive list of health organisation ‘Peak Bodies’ (the experts in their field) who can provide guest speakers for Men’s Shed events.

Step 3

In consultation with your local supporting Health Service set a date and time that the event can be run. You might like to link the event up with some other local event being held to make the most of people being around or to “value add” to the program by organising some healthy food or guest speakers etc.

Step 4

Complete the “Spanner in the Works?” Registration Form and email it to . When the registration form is received by AMSA we will:

  • Contact Australian Hearing and let them know of your plans. Australian Hearing will then contact you to arrange free hearing screening (if you wish) to be held at the same time as the “Spanner in the Works?” event.
  • Mail you some brochures (A5) and posters(A3) to help you promote the event in your community.
  • Mail you the booklets needed for each participant at the event. Allow 2 weeks for these to get to you.

Also download the generic media release here – Media Release. Feel free to modify the media release to suit your local needs before releasing it to the media.

Step 5

Promote your event using the brochures and posters and media release.

Step 6

Feedback – download the Feedback form and guidelines with this link. Note that the partner Health Organisation should also complete the feedback from – one feedback form from the shed’s point of view and one from the health workers point of view.

Support and Contact

The program “Spanner in the Works?” is fully supported by the Australian Men’s Shed Association & Healthy Male. Please contact:

Phone: 1300 550 009