Whittlesea Men’s Shed, WMS, collaborated with three levels of government earlier this month to discuss the shed’s vision for expansion and improvement of men’s health.
Member for McEwen Rob Mitchell, Member for Yan Yean Lauren Kathage and City of Whittlesea chief executive Craig Lloyd visited the shed, with WMS executive members presenting how the provision of an expanded facility would add value to the shed.
WMS secretary Brian Pratt said the shed was a fully functioning workshop with some members producing furniture for sale, while others were keen in the social aspects.
“The existing shed has no separate space unconnected to the noisy workshop environment where they can chat, play cards, or board games,” he said.
“The proposed next stage of development of the shed plans to create a separate room to facilitate this goal. Additionally, it will provide a space for use by other local community groups whenever the WMS is not operating.”
The concept of a Whittlesea Men’s Shed was first discussed in 2007 and was formally incorporated in 2010.
The WMS currently has more than 70 members from Whittlesea and neighbouring suburbs that meet to improve men’s overall mental and physical health.
With the support of the community and philanthropic bodies, WMS has expanded to include a machine shop extension, with several woodworking machines and a dust extraction system.
“The shed provides a place for men to ‘hang out’ and interact with other men. This is critical to address issues of social isolation felt by many men when they cease full-time work and/or lose a loved-one,” Mr Pratt said.
“Due to the hours of opening, week days, most of the men are seniors, but the shed has plans to try to engage younger men.”
Mr Pratt said Mr Mitchell, Ms Kathage and Mr Lloyd were impressed with the vision the shed members had and offered valuable advice regarding funding streams and how they could assist.
“The WMS committee and members are very grateful to all levels of government, and their ongoing support for the shed since its inception,” he said.
“In meeting with us, Rob, Lauren and Craig have demonstrated their commitment to the wider community, and more specifically, the improvement of men’s health through the provision of an effective men’s shed.”