Men’s Shed to be rebuilt thanks to generous grant

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Men’s Shed to be rebuilt thanks to generous grant

July 19, 2021

Leith Park blokes love their Men’s Shed so much so that they have outgrown their existing shed.

Thanks to funding from the Ian Rollo Currie Estate Foundation, they will not have to be shoehorned in for much longer.

The Foundation is funding the building of a new shed which will be host to 40 residents, providing a safe place for the men to tinker and build, as well as socialise, and attend educational workshops on a range of topics including mental and physical health, diet and nutrition.

The new shed – which will start being built later this year – has been designed by architect Thy Tran. It provides more space for men to work on joint and individual projects, space to store tools, more worktop benches, larger windows for natural light, and heating and cooling.

“This really is a dream come true for us,” Men’s Shed President Barry Lay said.

“The space where the shed was always intended as a temporary home until we found the money to develop a purpose-built space to cater for greater numbers of men. This grant makes that possible,” he said.

Men’s Sheds is a social program which aims to help provide community spaces for men to boost emotional and physical health.  Starting in Australia in 1998, Men’s Sheds is now a global program with hundreds of projects across the UK, Canada, Ireland, Denmark, Australia and the US.

Recent UK research showed that going to ‘the shed’ leads to new friendships and a sense of belonging. The same research revealed that men felt able to open up about their health concerns and experiences because they felt they belonged to something and had other men to talk to while they worked on projects together.

These research findings are supported by Barry and other men at Leith Park.

“We missed the shed last year as we were not able to get in to work on our hobbies and socialise due to lockdown,” Barry said.

“We tend to gravitate to the shed to catch up with each other, have a chat, solve the problems of the world, and offer a listening ear.”

Before lockdown, the group would have regular fix-it days or training days and times when a couple of blokes would just be working on a project of their own. The group also determined what projects are tackled.

The Leith Park Men’s Shed is run according to a charter that determines what can and can’t be done on the site, such as no smoking. A training and safety manual has been written to help train residents who want to learn how to make something that requires the use of any small machinery.

Karen Ernest, Leith Park’s Residents’ Coordinator, welcomed the generous grant.

“Over the years, I have watched numerous men enter that space and go into their own little world. They are men from all walks of life with different abilities, temperaments and experience however, it didn’t seem to matter what their background was: they are able to be men in the men’s shed,” she said.

The apartments are beautiful, with lovely, open and bright rooms, and a balcony for growing plants in pots. I am starting to make my apartment into a home.

– Catherine, Leith Park

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