One of the questions I am often asked is: “how big does a men’s shed need to be”. This is a difficult questions to answer, as it depends how many people will be working together at the same time.
One men’s shed project that does bike recycling has only a small workshop. They see this as an advantage as it means that working with just teams of three or four people; there can be greater social interaction and support amongst members of the team.
These smaller sheds may only have a space about the size of a garage workshop; however they will usually have access to a more social space such as an existing community room and perhaps a garden.
The workshop space is only part of the story as there is also a need for social space. If the workshop has a number of noisy machines or hand tools. Then sheds will often impose a rule that everyone stops work at lunch or for tea coffee brakes so that people can chat and don’t keep working.
Men’s sheds that offer a variety of activities will also need a clean space for computing or clean crafts. Some times this is combined with the social space with benches around the outside of the room and easy chairs in the middle of the room.
This was the pattern adopted by Northallerton shed when they were operating from a former school site. The social space also had a kitchen facility to one side with a cooker. This was used for cookery demonstrations, which was much appreciated by guys who had been widowed.
In my experience for these larger sheds an ideal space would be about the size of two school classrooms or a tennis court i.e. about 2000sq foot.
What is clear is that the size and style of space will affect how people interact and the possibilities of what activities can be offered. Its clear that often a shed will have to make do with the space that they have been offered so this does affect the character of the shed.
So on the one hand a shed in a village might only be the size of a double garage on the other end of the spectrum a shed in a larger town or with a big catchment might have the whole of the basement of a former mill.
There are number of men’s sheds across Yorkshire for contact details of your nearest shed see: the UK Men’s Shed Association Find a Shed page https://menssheds.org.uk/find-a-shed/