Australian Men's Shed Association (A.M.S.A.) Website

The following are extracts from various sections of the AMSA website which provide evidence that a primary purpose of the Men's Shed proposed by the Pottsville & District Men's Shed Inc (who are members of the AMSA) will be to provide a centre which will include accommodating persons with a physical or mental disability:-



The AMSA encourages participation in Men’s Sheds by people with all levels of ability which includes people with limited physical abilities, people with intellectual disabilities and people with a mental health issue.  We naturally accommodate these people into the shed without giving a thought to it and we naturally focus on their abilities rather than their disabilities.

In this section we are referring to those people whose level of disability is considered to be such that the physical environment requires adapt(at)ion and/or there is a level of intellectual or mental impairment that may require some shed practices to be adapted.


Generally the best way to accommodate people with a physical disability is by working with the person and asking them if and how the physical environment may need to be adapted in order to accommodate their participation in the shed.


Whilst we all have varying degrees of intellectual abilities some individuals may require special care and/or consideration within the shed environment. It is strongly suggested that advice be sought from the person’s carer/guardian, service provider or other relevant sources to enable them to enjoy the shed as much as everybody else.  Depending on the level of intellectual impairment it may be worthwhile considering a trial period where the person is supported by their support worker or ‘carer’ for a time. It may even be possible to reduce or phase out some of that support over time as the other shedders become accustomed and aware of the person’s abilities and the person concerned becomes more comfortable within the shed environment and with the other shedders.


Once again special care and consideration may be required. The person themselves as well as carers/guardians, service providers and other sources can be a valuable source of information in dealing with individuals and allowing them to integrate effectively and harmoniously into the shed environment. Initial ‘carer’ support may be required and the level of support reviewed regularly to ensure that the esteem of the individual is respected by not ‘over servicing’ and the person is allowed the dignity of participating to their maximum ability.


Be aware that, for some individuals, some tasks may take longer to accomplish but it is important to show respect and consideration for each person by allowing them to operate at their level of ability with dignity.

If the person with a disability requires a carer/support worker then that carer/support worker should be provided by the persons key support service. The support workers role may change over time.

Ensure that expectations and roles are clearly established. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) may prove useful in establishing the expectations of all parties and this MOU may need regular updating. All parties should be involved in the development of an MOU.

If required, consider establishing a mentor – one key contact within the shed who will mentor the person with a disability.

Be open and honest with any service providers involved. If your Men’s shed has some concerns then voice them as the service may be able to help alleviate those concerns.

Shedders are clever people and many sheds have already made some great adaptations in order to be able to include people with varying levels of ability.


The Association was auspiced by Catholic Care Newcastle and has been strongly supported collaboratively by Uniting Care North Sydney, Beyondblue and Mensline through the ever increasing number of developing Mens Sheds the Australian Men's Shed Association developed into the Peak body representing and supporting Men's Sheds in Australia, a model which is now being replicated internationally.

With the launch of the federal governments Male Health Policy in May 2010, the contribution of AMSA and Mens Sheds was formally recognised with the allocation of “$3 million for the Australian Men's Sheds Association to provide practical support to sheds, especially those in areas of high need. Men’s sheds play an important role in the community by providing meeting places where men can find social support and camaraderie”.


It’s important to remember that depression and anxiety are illnesses, not weaknesses, and effective treatments are available.

We have an extensive catalogue of resources for the people who experience depression and anxiety, their partners, family and friends, and for health professionals who work in mental health.


MensLine Australia is the national telephone and online support, information and referral service for men with family and relationship concerns.

This unique, dedicated service for men is an initiative of the Commonwealth Department of Social Services. It was launched in September 2001.

Who we help ( mensline)

MensLine Australia is for all men and all types of relationships. In particular it is for:

•     Men who are dealing with a separation or family breakdown and would like some  support to manage this critical time appropriately;

•     Men who have concerns about emotional wellbeing or anger management issues;

•     Men who are dealing with family violence;

WHAT IS A MEN'S SHED?'s-shed/.aspx

Unlike women, most men are reluctant to talk about their emotions and that means that they usually don’t ask for help. Probably because of this many men are less healthy than women, they drink more, take more risks and they suffer more from isolation, loneliness and depression. Relationship breakdown, retrenchment or early retirement from a job, loss of children following divorce, physical or mental illness are just some of the problems that men find it hard to deal with on their own.

Because men don’t make a fuss about their problems, these problems have consistently been either ignored or swept under the mat by both our health system and our modern society. It’s time for a change and the Men’s Shed movement is one of the most powerful tools we have in helping men to once again become valued and valuable members of our community.

A major objective is to advance the well-being and health of their male members.


The objects of the Association are: To promote Men’s health programs within sheds.


The Australian Mens Shed Association is federally funded to provide practical support to Mens Sheds, this enables AMSA to deliver a wide range of services including support and special programs from our Mens Health and corporate partners.


‘Mens Sheds are not just fixing furniture and building toys, they are fixing men and building communities.’



One of the characteristics of Men’s Sheds is that many of our members have some kind of disability and we are used to handling such circumstances - where we  reasonably can, we adapt. In the shed environment many members have age  related disabilities such as  the need for  glasses, hearing aids, walking aids and so on and some members have more complex disabilities that are more difficult to  manage.

Disabilities, permanent or temporary, can arise in so many ways as to make it  impossible to develop a policy and set of all encompassing procedures.  Indeed  the Commonwealth and other legislation can be a bit vague in some parts  because of the complexities in covering all possibilities. If the legislation were to be very broadly summarised it is about treating people fairly and equitably whether or not they have a disability.

It is AMSA Policy that members have an opportunity to participate in activities provided it can be done safely and without unduly expensive adaptations that could impact on a shed’s viability.

Context for this Manual

Members with a disability are encouraged to let their Shed colleagues know how they can help to overcome situations that might be difficult to manage. This might be a railing, a chair, a modified workbench etc.

From a Workplace Health & Safety perspective, it is important that the Induction Risk Assessment that awards a ‘Work Capacity Tag is done properly so that it represents the ability to undertake work in a way which will minimise the risk of harm to the new member and others.

Current members with new / worsening disabilities need to be aware of how the disability affects their safety and the safety of others. These members and or / carers need to advise the Shed member in charge of operations about any significant changes in risk. In such circumstances a revised Work Risk Assessment needs to be undertaken and if necessary a new Tag awarded.

While Workplace Health & Safety legislation is non compromising in many ways, the spirit of Men’s Sheds is to examine if there is a way to safely adjust a workplace to suit a disability provided it can be done at a reasonable price and a reasonable timeframe. If the adjustment is unreasonable from a cost or timeframe perspective to those concerned, then AMSA suggests the proposed adjustments should not proceed and other options considered.

Note:  Auspiced Sheds may have alternative Procedures that need to be followed in place of the above AMSA requirements. AMSA requires that Auspiced Sheds guidelines must be compliant with relevant legislation.