Sheds a sanctuary for men

Many men gather at the Mount Gambier Men’s Shed each week, a safe and welcoming space which helps support men’s health and wellbeing.

The concept of a Men’s Shed was established in 1998 by a female GP in Strathalbyn who was concerned about the number of “aimless” men.

There are now around 1800 Men’s Sheds internationally, supporting about 100,000 men.

Mount Gambier Men’s Shed president Ian Bond said a public meeting was held in September 2009 to establish the need and support for a Men’s Shed in Mount Gambier.

After exploring several locations, the current Mount Gambier Men’s Shed was established at 1a McDonnell Drive, thanks to the Mount Gambier City Council granting a lease.

Mr Bond said the Mount Gambier Men’s Shed was a place where men could come together, socialise and work on projects while looking out for each other.

“A lot of guys have mental and/or physical disabilities, we have had people come through here with all sorts of issues and we have been able to accommodate them,” Mr Bond said.

“We look after each other’s physical abilities, if they have a mental disability we try to help them.

“A number of suicides have been the reason for a few deaths in the Mount Gambier area in the last couple of months and some of them are younger people, some of them are older people, so if we can help to prevent that, I feel we have done our job.”

The Mount Gambier Men’s Shed has a large workshop with a variety of machinery and tools and is fitted out with a kitchen and toilets, with the toilets tiled by one of their 98-year-old members when he was 92 years old.

Mount Gambier Men’s Shed members have worked on many projects for others and themselves both locally and interstate, including picnic tables, garden beds, Lazy Susan’s and hundreds of wooden toys for children at Christmas.

“For the guys inside it’s a matter of keeping the mind active,” Mr Bond said.

“We have people who bring their carers.”

Mr Bond said they were hopeful they could extend the Men’s Shed into the space where the Christmas parade floats were stored, which would help accommodate the many members comfortably.

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