Man Shed is a service by Princess Alice Hospice. They provide free, holistic palliative care for patients with advanced illness and those approaching the end of their lives. They are funded by the local community, so fundraising and support are crucial to their continued work as a charity. The Hospice staff had noticed that the number of bereaved women who come forward for care and support from far outnumbered men and they wanted to find a new way to reach out to these ‘missing men’, including bereaved husbands; men caring for their partner; and men coming to terms with their own terminal illness. The Man Shed would be a place where men, who are bereaved or soon to be bereaved, can feel at home and pursue practical interests with a high degree of autonomy alongside others in a caring and supportive environment. When the Princess Alice Hospice came to me, they had no shed and no money for building it. The Hospice were looking for a solution to help them promote the fundraising activities for The Man Shed project.
The branding, tone of voice and design of the fundraising site required careful thought. Men (and women potentially) with bereavement wouldn’t necessarily want to be in an environment where they had to talk about their emotions of losing a loved one. It’s about being in the company of others who you know are experiencing the same things you are in an ‘emotional free’ environment. Most importantly, they don’t want to feel like they are being ‘cared’ for and so The Man Shed would provide a practical angle and outlet as a form of healing therapy. This is the angle we needed to approach the project in. So with this in mind, the fundraising aspect took a very practical approach, with a strong emphasis on resources, space, and knowledge sharing. Essentially something which said, “there are free things, it’s a place where you can break stuff, and people you can learn from.”
The campaign was a huge success and off the back of the website launch, they raised an additional 140% above their original £100,000 target, allowing them to build an even bigger shed!
The Man Shed has now been built and had it’s grand opening in June 2016.