The concept of Men’s Sheds may seem unfamiliar to those in the United States, but in Australia and some countries in Europe, these organizations serve a specific purpose. They provide a space for men to socialize, talk about their own well-being, and work on tasks that keep them active and give them a sense of accomplishment.
This July, because of the program’s success since the early 1990s, several of Australia’s Men’s Sheds have received federal funding through the government’s National Shed Development Program.
Men’s Sheds, which are non-profit and often supported by charities or private investors, allow their members to complete projects for their communities, such as restoring bicycles for a school or fixing lawnmowers for local businesses. Larger building projects are also sometimes taken on.
Because of the Men’s Sheds service to the country, and the health benefits they provide for their members, the Australian Men’s Shed Association provides direct financial assistance to these groups alongside the National Shed Development Program.
The National Shed Development Program allows Men’s Sheds to apply for three different types of funding: Tools and Equipment, Building Maintenance and Development, and Shed Activities and Programs.
This season, the group provided tens of thousands of dollars for Men’s Sheds in the province of New South Wales. The largest recipient was the Trangie Men’s Shed, which received $4800 for a center lathe on stand with foot-activated brake, an indexing head for a milling machine and a new set of chucks and collet chucks.
Receiving $4500 each were the Condobolin Men’s Shed (for hand tools, tool storage, power tools and garden maintenance equipment) and The Men’s Shed in Coonabarabran (to buy metal craft tooling equipment, including a scroll and tube former, twisters, an RBR tool, a master punch and shear).
The Gilgandra Men’s Shed received $2500 to buy a jet table saw bench, a 2HP dust collector and a hose.
Mark Coulton, Federal Member of Parliament for the town of Parkes praised the Men’s Shed programs and the funding for the movement, which he said is special because of its level of community involvement.
“Each Men’s Shed has a different way of connecting with the community whether it be through mentoring programs or through involvement in community projects,” Coulton commented.
Coulton also encouraged community members to support their local Men’s Sheds, so those groups, in turn, can continue helping their towns and cities.
Those who are interested in learning more about the Men’s Sheds program can visit the Australian Men’s Shed Association website at menssheds.org.