Don’t let the tools fool you – this Men’s Shed is more than just a workshop, it’s a place of friendship and fun.
This week (June 13-19) is Men’s Health Week; aimed at raising awareness and prevention of men’s health issues and to celebrate men’s roles within the community.
The VMCH Men’s Shed in Wantirna, run by not-for-profit organisation Villa Maria Catholic Homes (VMCH), has provided a safe-haven for men for more than a decade.
Each Tuesday and Friday, around 18 men aged over 65 pop into the shed to have a chat, a cuppa and work on some woodwork projects for their family members and friends. The seniors – who may have dementia, a physical disability, or are carers – are usually referred to the shed by local support agencies.
Men’s Shed supervisor Nicola Guida said the social aspect of the shed had a positive impact on the men’s mental wellbeing.
“To put it simply, it’s very important. It gives them an opportunity to be with other like-minded blokes to interact and bond. They actually share some pretty personal stuff sometimes which is helpful to them. They support and look out for one another and are good friends,” Nic said.
“One of our newest members said he was fighting boredom at home, and now looks forward to his day at the centre.”
Creating woodwork pieces including bird baths, pencil boxes and toys for their grandchildren also give the men a sense of purpose and accomplishment, Nic said.
Ferntree Gully resident Peter Hall, aged 85, has been attending the VMCH Men’s Shed twice a week for the past three years.
A road accident some years back has left Peter (pictured far left) with mobility issues. Without the Shed, Peter says he wouldn’t have the opportunity to pursue his passion for woodwork.
“I enjoy it,” Peter said. “Over the years I’ve made many things and I’m currently working on a placemat for hot pots made out of pegs.”
The social side of the Shed is important to Peter, who admits his wife is “probably happy to see him out of the house!”
“All the fellas are very sociable. We don’t talk much as women – we’re happy to sit for five minutes and enjoy the quiet – but we talk about all sorts of things; what we’re up to and current affairs.”
This week Peter will celebrate his 86th birthday at a local hotel with his mates from the Shed.
For more information about the VMCH Men’s Shed, call (03) 9800 7210 or click here.