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Changing Ireland: My Big Idea - Meet Barry Sheridan

30 March 2020


Meet Barry Sheridan, CEO of The Irish Men’s Shed Association

Permanent tsb is proud to celebrate courage and champion entrepreneurship as a supporter of ‘Changing Ireland: My Big Idea’, a brand new six-part docuseries produced for RTÉ One, in association with our community partner Social Entrepreneurs (SEI). The documentary will follow some of the most successful social entrepreneurs from the SEI Alumni Network, showcasing the positive impact that their work is having across the country and detailing their journey from start-up to scale-up.

Today, we want to introduce you to Barry Sheridan, CEO of the Irish Men’s Sheds Association (IMSA) and one of the entrepreneurs featured in the series.

Originally from Australia, and founded in Ireland in 2011, the Irish Men’s Shed Association’s mission is to support the development of the burgeoning Men’s Sheds movement across the country. As a grassroots organisation, they believe strongly in the autonomy of each individual shed, as they strive for a future in which all men have the opportunity to maintain and improve their wellbeing on their own terms and within their own communities.

Men in Ireland face a number of challenges around poor mental and physical wellbeing, suicide and the loss of community cohesion. Men’s Sheds aims to tackle all of these issues by addressing their root cause: social isolation.

Each Men’s Shed is a community space where men of all ages and backgrounds can come together, spend time, share skills, engage in range of activities, make new friends and connect with others in their locality.

As a nationwide, member-focused, grassroots community initiative, the IMSA has the capacity to transform the lives of all those who come into contact with it; sometimes subtly, sometimes in a more profound way.

Today, there are approximately 450 men’s sheds operating in communities across the country, the highest per-capita concentration of men’s sheds anywhere in the world. More than 12,000 men visit a shed each week, proving beyond doubt, that the IMSA really is #ChangingIreland.

To complement the series, SEI launched its own podcast – The Social Entrepreneur Podcast – which will presents in-depth interviews with the social entrepreneurs featured in the series. This week, CEO of SEI, Darren Ryan, sat down with Barry to learn more about the journey of the Irish Men’s Sheds Association and how their work is impacting men across the country.

The podcast is available to listen to here.

As a result of the recent Covid-19 pandemic, Men’s Sheds across the country have temporarily had to close. In response, the IMSA has launched the #CallThemForACuppa campaign which asks both members of the Sheds and the general public to pick up the phone once you’ve made your morning ‘cuppa’ and make a call to someone at risk of social isolation.  

‘Changing Ireland: My Big Idea’ is now showing on Monday evenings, from 8.30-9.00pm on RTÉ One.

To learn more about the Bank’s partnership with SEI and our continued commitment to having a positive and meaningful impact on communities across Ireland, please visit our Responsible Business Website.


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