The Veg Shed & Work Shed is a community-based activity group for men. We are part of Let’s Talk, Stansted! the Stansted Mental Health Initiative, and a member of the Essex Shed Network and the UK’s Men’s Shed Association. Our aim is to provide a fun, active and safe space for men of all ages to meet, work together and support each other.

All men and trans men are welcome to join and membership is free. You don’t need any experience of growing produce, or any special tools, just an interest in getting outdoors, learning new skills and helping us support our community.

Men are classified as a protected group where men-only activities offer a physical or mental wellbeing benefit that might otherwise be ineffective in mixed gender groups. This is perfectly legal and not discriminatory (but see the note lower down about how we also support women and families.)

Men typically find it more difficult to build social connections than women, and rarely share concerns about health and personal worries. Men often struggle with mental health issues relating to identity, responsibility, work or home life pressures, finances, bereavement, alcohol or drug missue and other issues. Middle-aged men are widely recognised as one of the most ‘at-risk’ groups for depression and suicide. And for some, when retirement comes, it can feel like personal identity and purpose is lost. By running groups exclusively for men, members can often overcome the stigma of feeling unworthy or emasculated and more able to share their worries with others.

The groups we run are about having fun, sharing skills and knowledge and gaining a renewed sense of purpose and belonging. As a by-product of all of that they reduce isolation and feelings of loneliness, they allow men to deal with mental health challenges more easily and remain independent, they rebuild communities and, in many cases, they save lives.

The Veg Shed & Work Shed Projects are about good mental health. An opportunity for friendship, social engagement and skill sharing in a safe and enjoyable environment, run by men who have dealt with personal issues themselves and have undergone various wellbeing, safety and first aid training courses so they can support others.

We currently manage a community allotment plot (The Veg Shed), growing fruit and vegetables for members and the local community. We are also in the process of refurbishing and equiping and small workshop (The Work Shed) on the same site. This will allow us to do some simple crafting and repair work, woodworking and possibly more.

As a community organisation, we’re keen to use the facilities we have to support women and families. Currently we have limited volunteer support, but if you or someone you know, is interested in helping us set up gardening or crafting groups please get in touch.


NORMAL MEETING TIME: From October 25th we’ll be meeting every WEDNESDAY from 9am till midday, plus ad hoc sessions at other times.

LOCATION: The Veg Shed Plot, Elms Farm Allotments, just off Church Road, Stansted CM24 8PZ

GETTING THERE: The allotments are just off Church Road along the path leading towards St Mary the Virgin Church and Arthur Findlay College. The posts at the entrance to the path read ‘MANOR HOUSE’ and the allotments are about 30m along on the left.

PREPARATION: Please come dressed for gardening, ideally with wellingtons or stout boots and waterproofs if it looks like rain. There’s no need to bring tools but you may be able to bring your own tools once you’ve become part of the group.

REGISTRATION: New members will need to register before taking part, and you should contact the Shed facilitator, Richard Haywood (07794 268208), before you visit. Registration of basic details is necessary for insurance purposes, but we treat all information in the strictest confidence. YOU WILL ONLY NEED TO REGISTER ONCE.

If you have an questions please feel free to email us: or call Richard on 07794 268208.