Just over a decade ago a few local Eden men saw the need for a Men’s Shed. The town had undergone significant changes, industry around the town had scaled down. Many men had become retrenched or retired.
A Men’s Shed would offer a place of mateship where men could come together, have a chat and a cuppa and work on all sorts of projects. Eleven years on and the shed is a hub of thriving activity.
Founding member and Eden Men’s Shed secretary Jack Dickenson said the shed has “proven” to be very important for men’s physical and mental wellbeing.
“We have had men who need a lift in life come to us. It’s rewarding to see after becoming part of the Men’s Shed their outlook on life has completely lifted. Many women have also commented – ‘gee whiz it’s made a huge difference to my husband’ they say.
“For men who live alone the social aspect is extremely beneficial.”
The mix of men who visit the shed is varied in age and skill set. Some bring a lifetime of trade skills and others skills in other areas.
“When the men come together they share knowledge and learn new skills that they might not have been exposed to before,” Mr Dickenson said.
A caravan that houses the products of the men’s labour was donated to the shed by a local timber mill. One wall of the caravan is filled with hardwood chopping boards and other items the men have created. The items are sold at Eden’s Art on Imlay.
Men’s Shed president Ian English said the items sell pretty well and at times the men have created products to special order.
“Not long ago I made a toy digger for a grandmother who wanted to gift her grandchild a present that could be remembered for years to come.”
The shed is packed with woodwork machinery. Much of the wood used is recycled or off cuts donated by local timber mills. Grants from the Australian Men’s Shed Association are used to purchase equipment. Mr English said the shed is beginning to run out of room and it would be wonderful to find an industrial block big enough to house all of their equipment.
“All blokes are welcome at the shed and are encouraged to pop in for a cuppa or a chat and to give it a go,” Mr Dickenson said.