More than just a shed

This week (28 September to 3 October) is National Men’s Shed Week – and the collaborative spaces where men gather to tinker on projects, yarn over a coffee and share their skills have never been more important.

Despite being unable to gather physically at Men’s Sheds in Cardinia and throughout metro Melbourne because of Covid restrictions, ‘shedders’ as they are known will still celebrate the enormous value of these community spaces in spirit if not in person.

“There are several major developments in ‘shed world’ at the moment and these reinforce the message that now more than ever, the Men’s Shed is more than just a shed,” said Australian Men’s Shed Association Executive Officer David Helmers. An advertising campaign voiced by Australian actor Michael Caton will be launched to celebrate the vital role played by Men’s Sheds in preventing social isolation. It comes almost a decade after Caton first proclaimed ‘If a man’s home is his castle, then his shed is his kingdom’.

Shedders have also been able to stay in touch via The Shed Online and The Shed Wireless podcast, which were developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. Mr Helmers said the podcast audience continues to grow, reaching many thousands of older men and women in regular episodes.

“The story of how The Shed Wireless was born, literally in a backyard shed, will likely go down in history as an innovative and useful response to the unprecedented social isolation and anxiety experienced by older Australians due to the pandemic,” Mr Helmers said. Special guests to date have included Australia’s Governor General David Hurley, Health Minister Greg Hunt, cricket legend Dennis Lillee and Gardening Australia’s Costa Georgiadis. Members of Men’s Sheds come from all walks of life, however the bond that unites them is that they are men wanting something meaningful to do with their time.

According to the AMSA website, the Men’s Shed movement has become “one of the most powerful tools in addressing health and wellbeing and helping men to once again become valued and productive members of our community”. Not all sheds are exclusively for men with some sheds choosing to be called ‘community sheds’ and include female members. There are six Men’s Sheds in Cardinia: the Bunurong Men’s Shed at Meadowvale Retirement Village in Pakenham, Cardinia Men’s Shed in Pakenham, Kooweerup Men’s Shed, Lang Lang Men’s Shed and Upper Beaconsfield Men’s Shed.

Anyone interested in starting a Men’s Shed at Kaduna Park is encouraged to contact info@kadunapark.com.au.

Parklea Sales and Marketing Manager Jarod Mills said the sheds at the Kaduna Park Homestead would be an ideal site for a Men’s Shed, however it was up to Cardinia Shire to facilitate the development of community spaces at the homestead.

Men’s Shed Week is an annual event led by the Australian Men’s Shed Association to highlight the contributions of Men’s Sheds to their members’ health and wellbeing, and to the wider community. For more information or to find your local Men’s Shed visit mensshed.org.

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