The Doctor Will See You Now

We are pleased to announce our next Shed Time event, entitled ’The Doctor Will See You Now’. Esteemed GP and local celebrity Dr. Alison Anderson will be joining us to give us a communal mental and physical check-up. She’ll be starting from the bottom and working her way up.

The Doctor will see you now

Please reserve Monday 5th September 2022 in your diaries for an informative and enlightening evening focussed on men’s health. As ever, we’ll meet at the Dell Centre from 7.45pm and beers and BBQ will be on hand in the surgery.

Summertime Special : the Walk-y Talk-y

This year’s Shed Time Summertime Special free event for men takes place on Monday 11 July 2022. It’s our annual ‘walk-y talk-y’ event that has proven so popular in previous years.


We’ll meet at 7.30pm in front of St. George’s. At 7.45pm we’ll head off for a bracing walk around Ashtead Common. We expect the walk will last approximately 45 minutes. If you do not feel up to this you are welcome to join us back in front of St. George’s at 8.30pm for some ‘post walk refreshments’ which will include the usual selection of beverages and BBQ.

Please come ‘dressed for the weather’ and we hope to see you there!


Shed Time is back in 2022. For our first event of the year, we are delighted to welcome local resident Jon Yates to the event. Jon is the Executive Director of the Youth Endowment Fund, and before that a Special Advisor on policy to the Education Secretary.

He’ll be talking to us about his new book, Fractured, in which he asks the questions ‘Why are we so divided in society?’, ‘What damage is it doing us?’ and most importantly, ‘How do we fix it?’. Jon’s book sheds some interesting light on these questions through research. For instance, it shows that dancing makes you more loyal, that in general TV divides us more than social media and it even reveals how England beat the Netherlands in Euro ’96.

Jon Yates

Political battle lines get drawn over topics like Brexit and Covid and they dominate our newspaper headlines. It can cause division in society at all levels. This interactive and thought-provoking talk will give us an opportunity to pause, think and show us how we can instead build communities – united by what we have in common – to enable us and future generations to ‘do life’ better together.

The event will be held on Monday 07 March 2022 from 7.45pm at the Dell Centre in Ashtead. The usual lukewarm beer and wine will be served alongside a fantastic Argentinian BBQ. Shed Time is a free event for men.

Return of the Shedi

We rise again! In our first ‘in person’ Shed Time meeting for men since lockdown restrictions eased, we welcome back our first Shed Time speaker, Andy Findley. The ultra marathon runner, mountain climber and adventure ‘bon viveur’ will talk about how he prepares for his events, how he trains and how he deals with the challenges and setbacks he’s faced: a useful toolkit of skills that can be applied to our daily lives.

Return of the Shedi

We’ll meet at the Dell Centre on Monday 11th October 2021 at 7.45pm. The usual beer, wine and Argentinean BBQ will be on offer. We look forward to seeing you there.

Covid and You: A Year in Review

2020. The Winter of our Discontent. How was it for you?

This year has pretty much all been about Covid (with a little sprinkling of Brexit on top). Our event themes this year have been heavily influenced by the pandemic. A short while ago we asked the Shed Time community to share with us their experience of the personal impact it has had.

Hands Face Space

In our winter event we’ll be speaking to a few people to get their reflections and we’ll have a short look together at the results of the questionnaire we sent out during the second UK Lockdown. We’ll follow that by breaking into smaller online groups to give everyone the opportunity to share their experiences, and maybe to offer advice. Each of these groups will have a (pre-arranged) host to help guide the conversation, and nobody is under any obligation to share anything.

The event will be held on Zoom. For details of how to attend the free event, email the Shed Time team.

Looking forward to seeing you on the call.

P.S. It’s Shed Time, so even though we can’t meet in person, traditions must be respected. Therefore, please come armed with a good beer (or a cheap glass of wine) and your favourite snacks.

Laughter is the Best Medicine

Shed Time is back with another event to lift the spirits and bring us closer together as a community. It’s pure entertainment, all the way.

We’re kicking things off with a special fusion of magic and comedy, courtesy of Steve Legg, founder of Sorted magazine. Paul Daniels commented, “Great comedy and great magic”, and if his act is good enough for Paul, it’s good enough for us.

This will be followed by a spot of comedy courtesy of Andy Kind, someone Tim Vine has described as “A very funny man”. The whole thing will be compèred by Marcus Speller, presenter of The Football Ramble, so you’re in for a comedy treat.

Doubtless at this point your head is buzzing with questions and a thirst to find out more, so to that end…

Q: When is it?
A: Friday, 18 September 2020, from 6pm (sharp) until 7.30pm.

Q: That’s earlier than usual…why’s that?
A: Because this event is being held outside, and it starts to get dark at around 7.30pm.

Q: Outside you say…that’s a deviation from past form
A: Correct and right. It’s being held outside on the grass bank of the Dell Centre, just next to St. Giles’ Church. If you don’t fancy standing or sitting on the grass, please bring a camping chair or picnic blanket.

Q: Why the change?
A: So we can conform to the Government’s Social Distancing regulations for events. We’ll have suitable social distancing measures in place. You’ll have to sit suitably distanced from other people, but if you come with members of your bubble, you can all sit together.

Q: But what if it rains?
A: The show will go on (unless there’s thunder, lightning and tropical storms), so if the weather looks iffy, bring a brolly or one of those pac-a-macs you purchased for your Duke of Edinburgh expedition but haven’t worn since.

Q: Will there be all the usual trappings of a Shed Time event provided like beer, wine, BBQ and, er, toilets?
A: We aren’t allowed to provide food and drink, so please bring your own drinks and snacks (alcohol is fine), but please take your rubbish home with you afterwards. As to the toilet, there will be one available but you are only permitted to use it in exceptional circumstances, and evidence of dire need will be required (e.g. a wet patch).

Q: How much does all this loveliness cost?
A: Just like the NHS, it’s free at the point of need, but tickets are limited to a strict 90, and it’s on a first-come-first served basis, so please sign up here to reserve your ticket.

Q: Who can come?
A: As with all Shed Time events, this is a community event for men only. You’ll also have to be 18 or over to attend this particular one.

Q: Anything else I should bear in mind?
A: We’ll have a queueing system in place to get everyone into the venue safely. Please arrive any time after 5.30pm and don’t forget your mask (as we can’t admit you without one). We’ll have hand sanitiser on hand at the entrance too.

Q: Where do I sign up?
A: The booking form is on the St. Giles’ and St. George’s website.

Shed Time Goes Viral

From Joe Wicks workouts to Government Daily Briefings, it seems that in these extraordinary times of lockdown, face-to-face meetings have been replaced with online equivalents.

Never one to lag behind the times, Shed Time is pleased to announce that it has gone viral.

The next Shed Time event will be taking place, live, from the comfort of your own living room / bathroom / shed (you choose). So don’t forget to add burgers, buns and dodgy beer to your next online supermarket shopping order because on Monday 8th June 2020 we’ll be hosting our first livestream Shed Time event from 8 – 9pm.

We’ll be looking at how the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted local people and detailing some practical ways local organisations are helping us through this crisis.

Shed Time Goes Viral

We’ll be using zoom to host the event. If you would like an invite to the event, please email

You Might Feel a Little Prick

This event has been postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. A new date for the event will be published as soon as possible.

Our next Shed Time event for men is being held on Monday 30 March 2020. It starts at 7.45pm, it’s at the Dell Centre in Ashtead, and in keeping with tradition, we’ll be providing the refreshments (beer – tick, BBQ – tick, cheap wine – tick).

The event is called ‘You might feel a little prick’. ‘Saucy’, I hear you mutter. However, it’s not a Carry On Doctor tribute night, but our speaker is a doctor — none other than our own, highly esteemed Dr. Alison Anderson. In our book, anyone who has officially been granted ‘the Freedom of Ashtead’ at a recent Village Day is someone worth listening to.

Alison Anderson

She’ll be talking about our health — both physical and mental. Let’s face it, men are generally hopeless at sharing potential health issues, or even admitting to ourselves that there could be an issue. Alison will offer us practical advice on how we can conduct our own ‘physical and mental health MOT’ as well discussing warning signs to look out for in others.

We hope to see you there.

Digital Parenting

Are you battling with screen time?

Does keeping up with young people’s current apps or trends feel like a part-time job?

Is communicating as a family getting harder or easier?

The digital world is a dominant force in the lives of us all, with undoubtedly numerous positives to be found and pitfalls to overcome. Issues like inappropriate sharing/viewing, digital addiction and mental health are constantly in the spotlight.

Shed Time was excited to partner with Digital Awareness UK for an event designed to help men feel empowered when it comes to their loved ones or each other in this space.

Digital Parenting

They talked us through the very latest research and gave some suggestions to help answer any concerns you may have in the home around online safety.

As always, Shed Time is a free event for men which includes complimentary drinks and nibbles.

The (Over-) Expectant Father

From absent fathers to helicopter parents, the way we act out our role as fathers and grandfathers has an enormous impact on our children.

Over-Expectant Father

The latest Shed Time event took the format of an informal panel interview with three fathers from our community, the Reverend Richard Jones, Mark Landon and Graham Lee.

In the first half the panel shared their experiences of growing up; their father’s role (or absence) in their upbringing, the expectations that were felt, the impact it had on them and the way all these things influenced shaped their thinking about how to be a father.

This was followed by a look at them as fathers; an honest reflection on what they’ve tried to put into practice to be the best dad possible, together with instances of where they feel they fell short of the mark.

Fathers strive to create a lasting, positive legacy with their children and a lot of the experience and advice shared resonated with those in the room. It left much food for thought on how we can further enhance the relationships with those we love.

Summer Time Saunter

On Monday 15th July Shed Time members met for our annual excursion on the common — by foot or by bicycle — and sampled the cool evening air, the delicate chirp of birdsong, the sweet smell of wild flowers in bloom. You get the picture. We returned to the customary Argentine BBQ. It was supplemented by a beer tasting experience courtesy of TwoTribes Brewhouse.


 We met the master brewer, gained a fascinating insight into the beer-making process, asked questions a-plenty and, of course, indulged in a lengthy ‘product sampling’ session.

From 3 Under Par to 3 Years Behind Bars

John Hoskinson was a world ranking golfer and the former resident pro at the RAC club. His life turned upside down when, after a drink at the 19th hole, he hit and killed a cyclist on his drive home. In the blink of an eye, John had swapped the haven of Surrey golf clubs for the squalor and danger of some of the toughest prisons in the country.

John Hoskison

On Monday 25th March 2019, John came and spoke to us about his fall from elite sportsman to a life behind bars, and his journey of redemption and forgiveness. He talked about his golfing career and the extreme highs and lows of his life; providing ample motivation and inspiration. It was a deeply raw, moving and thought-provoking talk from a man who had a captivating story to tell. If you missed the event you can hear what John said.

It came as no surprise to Shed Time regulars that the usual trimmings were on offer; the Argentine BBQ, free beers and some very suspect wine.

Blue — Keeping the Peace and Falling to Pieces

On Monday 10th December 2018 we heard John Sutherland tell his extraordinary story of a life on the front line of policing and hostage negotiation, and a stark account of his breakdown. As promised, it was an engaging, thought-provoking and inspiring evening.

Blue (Detail)

John has delivered a condensed version of his message at a TEDx event. If you’d like to hear the talk delivered at Shed Time, you can hear it here.

The Dark Night of the Shed

In September 2018 we were joined by Nick Page, a celebrated author of over 80 books. Nick shared some insights into his exploration into the phenomenon of the male midlife crisis. He explained how he reviewed the options for how to deal with it and concluding, unconventionally, that by meeting it head on it can be a freeing and positive experience, rather than a negative one. Nick’s answer to this was to build a shed. Not to answer the questions he found himself asking, but so that he’d at least be able to get some peace to think about it properly.

Nick Page

As usual, we had our Argentinian steak-house chefs firing up the BBQ and there were beers a-plenty and a selection of cheap wine (the sort you begrudgingly give as a Christmas present to a relative you don’t much care for).

For more about Nick, see his website. To listen to the talk, click here.

You’ll Never Walk Alone

The Shed Time summer event, held on a balmy Monday evening in June, was a short(ish) walk on the common. A bike ride also set off for those who prefer to navigate their way through life on two wheels. Both groups returned in good time to enjoy the traditional BBQ and beers.

You'll Never Walk Alone

The delights of the common opened up as we walked, we chatted, we debated and we got to know each other better — neighbours and friends, one and all. We’ve received strong, positive feedback about the event and will be sure to repeat it soon.

The Wisdom of Crowds

For our March 2018 event we opened up the floor to our Shed Time community.

The amazing Argentine BBQ was once again fired up and the bar suitably restocked to provide much needed refreshment after a hard day’s toil.

Our aim with Shed Time is to strengthen the sense of community between men in the local area; to increase the feeling of ‘doing life together’. We realise that each of us have stories to tell; advice to be dispensed, lessons learned to be shared. We therefore took the opportunity to harness this collective wisdom; to seek the advice from the front line.

The Wisdom of Crowds

The event was far more interactive in nature, affording those present an opportunity to share what we’ve discerned over the years, and to listen and learn from others. There was no pressure to participate, but we shared stories and sought – or offered – advice in equal measure. The topics on the menu were all relevant to our lives, which included :

  • Parenting & Grandparenting
  • Work
  • Health
  • Worry
  • Bereavement
  • Flatulence
  • Family & Relationships
  • Friendship
  • Life
  • Money & Debt
  • Shed Time
  • Community
  • Emotions
  • Mid-Life Crisis
  • BBQ
  • Sleeping Well
  • Growing Old
  • Vice
  • Sheds

We asked :

What advice would you give to your 18 year old self?

What is the greatest (or worst!) bit of advice you’ve received?

It was great to see so many people turning up and offering sage-like nuggets to the group.

Choose Life

Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a family, a set of friends and nice cosy house in a nice cosy village in a nice cosy part of the country. Choose how you spend your free time and your money. Choose not ignoring or judging those less fortunate but lifting them up and helping them unlock their potential. Choose seeing the good in people, and being willing to give them a second chance…and a third. Choose the impact you make. Choose victory in the face of defeat. Choose your legacy.

Choose Life

The latest Shed Time event ‑ Choose Life – was powerful, at times emotional, and above all uplifting. Nick, Kaylea and Jenna’s stories showed just how transformational the decision to ‘choose life’ can be, even when the situation can seem so bleak. They also serve as a powerful reminder that a support network is crucial; that places such as The Meeting Room can help turn people’s lives around; and that we too can play our part by offering our skills, our time, or just by adopting a less judgmental attitude to those homeless or disadvantaged people we come into contact with.

You can listen again to the event here (part 1 and part 2).

Shed Time Presents : Life Stories

The latest Shed Time event was of a more intimate nature and featured interviews with Ashtead locals Tim Hodgson, Steve Kershaw and Richard Saks, men with differing talents and careers of distinction. The evening was by turns absorbing, challenging and inspiring.

Life Stories

We learned how they coped with issues such as bereavement, the near-loss of a baby daughter after open-heart surgery, neglecting family for work, finding direction in life and being purpose-driven in your career.

We heard how family, faith and close friends all played vital roles in providing the support needed to get through the darkest times, and how it’s essential to ‘make every day count’.

Listen to the full event here : part 1 and part 2.

The Work-Life Balance

The Shed Time ‘Year of the Man’ theme continued with an exploration of achieving a successful work-life balance.

Patrick Fleming is a former Finance Director of Cadbury Schweppes’ and Chairman of Divine Chocolate and Pomegreat and is the current Chairman of Peppersmith. He’s also Chairman of Surrey Squash and on the National Forum Group of England Squash, having represented Surrey in the national inter-county Masters championships.

Patrick Fleming

Patrick came to Shed Time to speaki about his journey of discovery of what he believes he’s here for and what he should be doing with his life. He described how he intentionally plans his life, sets his life priorities and tackles the ever-present challenge of balancing life inside and outside the workplace. He stressed the importance of having a mission, and from that setting your goals and aligning your priorities to meet those goals.

Throughout his talk he offered insights into how we can apply these practices to our own lives and deal with the inevitable issues that arise when that equilibrium is disturbed through such things as unfulfilled ambitions, life changes and the ageing process.

To listen to the talk, click here.

Avoiding Your Blind Spots

The latest Shed Time event for men was held on Monday, 27th February 2017. During this time we explored the theme of ‘blind spots’.

We all have blind spots, yet so many of us don’t know that. Some of them detrimentally affect our job performance, even the quality of our relationships at home and elsewhere.

Dan Haigh

Daniel Haigh spoke about what he’s learned on his own journey and as a coach and mentor. He also explained the essential role that friends, and sometimes coaches or counsellors, play in addressing our blind spots. He covered :

  • Do you realise you have blind spots?
  • How do you identify them?
  • How do you deal with them?

In just 35 years Dan has risen from tea-boy to CEO. He’s now a life coach and an in-demand public speaker. He’s worked with clients who range from young adults looking for direction in life, men and women struggling relationally, to leaders and CEOs aiming to increase impact.

As usual, complimentary drinks and snacks (a BBQ!) were served on the night.

Click here to hear the talk in full.

Tails I Lo$e — Riches to Rags to Reconciliation

The latest event was held on Monday 5th December 2016.

Justyn Rees Larcombe was living the perfect life.

Veteran of a highly successful career in the British Army. An equally glittering and well-rewarded career in the City. Further career progression beckoned through fast-track promotion.

He had wealth, an enormous house, a beautiful wife, three loving sons, a Porsche and a Mercedes. He had it all.

Justyn Rees Larcombe

And then he started gambling. Three years later he’d lost it all, gambling away three quarters of a million pounds.

Now Justyn is a public speaker, media commentator, advisor to Government, the medical profession and leading national think-tanks on the issues of problem gambling and addiction in general.

Justyn shared the incredible story of his spectacular fall and how he managed to piece his life back together again. He also offered advice for those struggling with gambling and other addictive impulses. You can hear it here.

Stirred, not Shaken — Men and Emotions

The latest event was held in September 2016. The guest speaker is a professional psychotherapist working extensively with individuals experiencing depression, anxiety, relationship difficulties or who simply feel stuck in their circumstances.

Shaken, not stirred

He offered some suggestions on the theme of being stirred, not shaken, when it comes to our feelings. Men can have difficulty and discomfort venturing into ‘emotional territory’ and spending time with our feelings. He dispelling the feeling that men can feel more than just hungry. He showed how men who are in touch with what is going on in the inside can live with more passion, freedom and satisfaction. They can have a greater positive influence in their relationships and be more at ease with the world around them.

He suggested that men can grow in emotional literacy by using the four Rs :

  • Registering. Register that something is happening.
  • Recognise. Label the emotion.
  • Reflect. What does that feeling do to me.
  • Respond. In a way that satisfies the emotion and engages creatively to the problem or opportunity.

He offered this strategy for mastering their emotional health :

  • Men can exercise courage when working with emotions. To really tackle the challenges that hold them back, men must attend to their emotional world and overcome the stigma to showing weakness.
  • We can invest in good, safe relationships with people we trust.
  • We need to use our power and influence well. We should support other men. We should also know our boundaries, and connect our friends to the services around them.

Listen to the full talk here.

Running a Good Race

The first event was held in June 2016. The guest speaker was the ultramarathon runner Andy Findley who shared his experience of running the Marathon des Sables, known as the toughest footrace on Earth. Andy described what it was like to run 152 miles in 5 days, enduring 50°C heat. He used his experiences from extreme endurance sport to reflect on how we can run a better race and challenged us to be better men.

Andy Findley

In Andy’s talk he offered the following tips :

  • Be intentional. Every day.  
  • The weight of your bag determines how fast you run. Check your backpack every day. Get the boulders out.  
  • Check your dashboard. Every day. Don’t take your eye off the ball. 
  • Nothing ever goes to plan. You can’t think negative thoughts.  
  • Get good running mates. You’re an average of your five closest friends. “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.”
  • Remember the power of your influence. Your daughter learns how she should love a man by how you love your wife. Your kids are learning from you. People are watching you and taking notes.
  • We over-estimate what we can do in one day and under-estimate what we can do over a long time. Little decisions make a big difference. Make marginal gains every day. Better yourself daily.  
  • Encourage others.  Find your passion and add value to others. We have to improve the lives of those around us.  
  • Don’t stop. Run strong and never never give up. We are so much stronger than we can ever give ourselves credit for. We can’t DNF (Did Not Finish).

Listen to the full talk here.