The workspace, the man cave, the time out zone, and in some cases, just a break from the outside world — the humble shed has long been a part of Aussie culture.
Australian Men’s Sheds play an important part in men’s health awareness, promoting socialisation and skill set expansion for all members. While membership isn’t limited to retirees, they’re a great example of a group of people who benefit from such an initiative.
“A lot of men, when they retire, lose their social network,” said Bob Ikin, president of the Carina Men’s Shed. “The shed gives them back that network.”
“The other aspect is when men downsize, they lose that shed in the backyard. The Men’s Shed can help fill that void, too.”
And for the younger generation, it can provide a great learning base. There are over 1,000 Men’s Sheds throughout the country, with members ranging from their 20s well into their 90s.
“There are all those skills being transferred amongst the members,” Bob said.
There’s plenty to keep the hands busy at Carina Men’s Shed: from woodwork to glasswork, leatherwork to metalwork, even cooking and gardening.
Formed in 2009, it now has over 100 members and isn’t all about working with the hands. There’s a recreation room where members can just have a cuppa and a yarn, learn a new card game or just tell a tall tale or two.
That’s great for all those within the shed walls, but those outside of it benefit, too.
“We do all sorts of community projects; we’re very much a community Men’s Shed,” said Bob. “That’s our main focus: to help as many schools and not-for-profit organisations in our community.”
For all the information on your local Men’s Shed, and how to become a member, visit the Australian Men’s Shed Association website.