The Fundy Men’s Shed, located in Saint John, New Brunswick, launched in 2023 with eight members. Their collective mission is powerful: learn new skills, forge meaningful connections, and make a difference in their community.
The group was fortunate to land the perfect meeting space at the heart of Saint John –The Tool Library. Established in 2018, The Tool Library serves as a community workshop, offering anyone in the community affordable access to tools. Saint John, one of the oldest cities in Canada, also has more dilapidated buildings than nearly any other Canadian city, but thanks to the Tool Library, community members have been inspired to revitalize their neighbourhoods and transform the city to be better than it ever has been. The Fundy Shedders meet every Monday at The Tool Library to tackle new projects that serve their community and broaden their skillsets.
The Fundy Shedders share how the shed has given them a sense of purpose and belonging; the Shedders have formed close friendships with men they never would have otherwise crossed paths with. Working in the same space shoulder to shoulder, enjoying coffee breaks together, and serving their community together has fostered a shared sense of appreciation for the Men’s Shed among its members.
“It gives us a sense of purpose. For a lot of people, once they’ve retired, they’re thinking ‘Now what do I do?’ [The] Men’s Shed gets us out. It gives us a fellowship. Now that we have that, it’s something I look forward to every Monday.”
The conversation about men’s mental health has finally made its way to the forefront. Research indicates that older men are more likely to isolate themselves after retirement, which is why Men’s Sheds are such an important opportunity for men to keep their minds and bodies busy after retirement.
“Having been retired for a while, I’ve noticed that in the work world, I would do lots of joint problem solving. It’s kind of neat that there are some projects where we don’t necessarily know what needs to be done to accomplish what we’re working on, but collectively we can find a solution. It’s back to doing group problem solving without the pressures of a work environment, it’s a fun environment,” said Rick, a Fundy Shedder.
What stood out about the Fundy Men’s Shed especially was their sense of gratitude for the opportunity be part of a Shed. Peter, a founding member of the group, noted: “You stay young by continuing to learn, and by tackling these projects that we haven’t done before, and by using skills that we didn’t use over the course of our working lives, we are able to achieve that objective and it’s a great outcome for what we’re able to deliver to the community but at the same time, it’s a great outcome for those of us that are doing it. As much as we get thanks for what we do, at the same time, we give thanks for the opportunity to do it.”
Although the men who founded Fundy Men’s Shed are older, the Shed wants everyone to know that there’s no requirement to be retired to become a part of the group. In fact, they enthusiastically welcome younger men into their Shed – the Fundy Men’s Shed is a space for all men.
Did you know that if twenty people donated $50.00 right now, we could help another group of men launch a Men’s Shed in their community, starting them on their journey to build lasting friendships? That’s less than the cost of a single train ticket. Please, donate today to support older men’s mental health and help us launch more Men’s Sheds from coast to coast.