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Men’s Sheds at Big Pit National Coal Museum

Sharon Ford, 14 June 2020

The Coal Shed at Big Pit was launched in May 2019 and was the first Men’s Shed to be launched in Torfaen. Located in the museum’s old fitting shop the group have brought an historic building back to life in the spirits of its original purpose, previously the pick sharpening shop for the mine, where miner’s mandrels were repaired. Each individual shed’s activities depend entirely on the skills and interests of its members.

The Men’s Shed idea originated in Australia 12 years ago and was developed by the health board to tackle growing concerns of social isolation amongst their male population. They identified that high numbers of men had too much time on their hands (due to retirement, unemployment, illness etc.) and these things often manifested themselves in boredom, men suffering in silence with declining mental health and in the worst cases of suicide. The Men’s Sheds movement is based on the understanding that men are more likely to help themselves and attend something they have set up or have some control over.

Men’s Sheds Cymru, a Big Lottery funded project, has been created to help communities across the country set-up their own Men’s Sheds

The Coal Shed has been supported by Blaenavon Town Council and funding has been received from Western Power Distribution and People’s Postcode Lottery. For more information on the Coal Shed, please email Sharon Ford. For more Men’s Shed information visit

Sharon Ford

Learning, Participation and Interpretation Manager (Big Pit)
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