History of the Woodend Men’s Shed
In 2013 a group of local men began investigating the possibility of establishing a Woodend Men’s Shed, a concept that was already entrenched in communities throughout Australia.
While some local men had expressed interest in participation in a Men’s Shed, initial investigations into a possible location within the Woodend district were unsuccessful. Those involved were becoming desperate when it was suggested that the local Bupa Aged Care facility may be able to assist. Bupa management was very receptive and supportive of our request for a facility and offered a large, stand-alone room located at the rear of their property.
We have been in our current location since June 2014
The building is in a very pleasant garden setting, and members have the ongoing support of local management, staff and a small group of Bupa residents
During this period e have strived to achieve the following objectives:
- Ensuring a place for men that promotes social interaction and activities which maintain the health and wellbeing of those men;
- Easing the transition of men from full time employment to other activities in retirement;
- Providing support to men in need of help arising from mental illness or other debilitating illnesses;
- Building a culture in the shed where all men are welcome and where mutual respect and trust are paramount;
- Becoming a focal point for members for the identification of men’s health issues and actions to resolve them.
In addition to the all-important social interaction of members the Woodend Men’s Shed has made many positive contributions, including:
- Liaison with men who are Bupa residents and who visit the Shed on a weekly basis
- A range of community projects, including construction of:
- Tree benches for the Woodend Primary School
- Wicking bed garden boxes for the Newham Primary School
- Frames for display of trophies
- Indian Miner Bird traps
- Possum nesting boxes
- Response to individual requests for assistance, e.g. repairs to chairs, handles, coffee tables and other household items.
- Personal projects undertaken by members e.g. restoring furniture, making toys, woodturning etc.
- Items that are offered for sale as part of the Shed fund-raising program
Unfortunately, despite several other advantages, the limited size of our premises at Bupa has resulted in us seeking other options.
In the long term, as one possibility, we are looking to being granted land in the redevelopment of the old Woodend racecourse site. However, for such a possibility to come to fruition, it seems the Macedon Ranges Shire Council would need to commission the development of an overall plan for the total area. Such a plan would involve extensive consultation with interested community groups and the wider Woodend community. For that to happen, the cost of commissioning the work needs to be included in an annual Council budget and, no doubt, given current circumstances, that is not likely to come about in the short term.
Fortunately, due to changes at the old timber mill site on Black Forest Drive, we became aware in the first half 2020 of vacant space there. A lease of unspecified length was successfully negotiated with the owners and we took possession on July 1st 2020.
However central to the arrangement is a condition that enables either party to break the lease on six months’ notice. Although not totally happy with this condition, which was included at the insistence of the owners because of their plans to redevelop the area as tourist hub once their plans are approved, we judged that such approvals were unlikely to occur in the short to medium term.
Our new space includes a large workshop area where all our equipment is easily accommodated, a separate area on a different level with tables, chairs and coffee making facilities that is perfect for meetings and informal gatherings of members looking for space to relax and chat. Our leased area is abutted by a large open but lockable cage space under the roof for storing timber and a range of other activities. We share separate bathroom facilities with tenants on the site
Setting up the new facilities, with the restrictions forced upon us by two COVID related lock downs, has provide a challenge and taken us more than six months. However at the commencement of 2021 we are up and running with regular sessions on Mondays and Wednesday mornings. We are also looking to introduce an evening session if there is sufficient interest from men whose employment prevents them from accessing day times.