More than just a shed

Visiting UK research associate Paul Hopkins has been working with local associate professor Doctor Gary Misan to research why Men's Shed work. Pictured was Dr Misan, Mr Hopkins and Whyalla Men's Shed member Wyne Bishop.
Visiting UK research associate Paul Hopkins has been working with local associate professor Doctor Gary Misan to research why Men's Shed work. Pictured was Dr Misan, Mr Hopkins and Whyalla Men's Shed member Wyne Bishop.

A local Men’s Shed initiative is helping to shape a research theory that would have an international context.

Visiting UK research associate Paul Hopkins is working alongside local associate professor Gary Misan to research links between community culture and the delivery of health messages.

Mr Hopkins and Dr Misan’s research is based on why Men’s Sheds have been so successful and demonstrating why they work as a platform for delivering health messages.

Mr Hopkins has spent the past three months based in Whyalla learning from the start-up of the local Men’s Shed initiative as well as gathering information from established Men’s Sheds across the Eyre Peninsula.

“It’s been quite an opportunity, I’ve really enjoyed meeting the guys here,” Mr Hopkins said.

Mr Hopkins said while the Men’s Shed movement started in Australia, the concept had been picked up in other countries and he had been interested to learn more about how they worked firsthand.

Supported by the University of South Australia, Mr Hopkins and Dr Misan’s research has identified a range of key factors that will help them to develop their paper.

These include the benefits Men’s Sheds provide to members as well as to the communities they are in and the role they have in improving men’s health in particular mental health and wellbeing.

“There’s quite a lot around mateship,” Mr Hopkins said.

Mr Hopkins believed the formula to the success of Men’s Sheds could be applied to other men’s health initiatives as well as the delivery of health programs.

“If you can make use of culture to get across health messages, they are more likely to take on board idea."

UK research associate Paul Hopkins

Mr Hopkins will return to the UK soon but will maintain in contact with Dr Misan and the University of South Australia to complete the research paper.