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The men's shed I attend 3 days a week, healthAbility Men's Shed, formerly Whitehorse Men's Shed, is forced to move. The shed is operated by a community health organisation originally called Whitehorse Community Health, in Box Hill. People thought we were run by Whitehorse City Council, so to avoid confusion, the name was changed to Carrington Health, after the street it was located on. Then Carrington Health merged with another health organisation located in Eltham, and the name changed again to healthAbility Community Health. The men didn't want the name changed, but healthAbility pay all the bills, so they won out.

 

We have been extremely lucky. For the past 14 years or so, we have had the use of two large rooms (formerly school classrooms) and a large amount of yard space, rented from an organisation called Nadrasca, for the low rental of $1000 per month. Nadrasca provide a "sheltered workshop" type of operation for handicapped clients, now under the NDIS arrangement. They have two campuses but wish to amalgamate them, so they want their rooms back.

 

We have to vacate the room we use as a common room/lunch room/computer area by the end of June.The room we use as a workshop for small projects with handtools and a few small machines such as drill press and router table has to be vacated by the end of July. We have a larger colorbond shed, the size of a double garage, which we had built ourselves for larger machines such as band saw, table saw, thicknesser, lathe, etc., which will still be ours, but does not have room for a lunch or meeting area, and does not have toilets. So we are frantically looking for new accomodation. It is a pity because the two rooms we have been using are heated for the winter, and air conditioned for summer. This is what we are loosing:

 

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This is the shed we own, and some of the garden area where members grow vegetables. We will still have access to this.

 

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A big pity but all too common. Most people can contribute until they are near the end. They just need the means and organisation. Maximising the return on everything can be very destructive. Inner urban real estate is too valuable. Rates need to be maximised seems to be the the priority of Councils generally.  The CEO's salary is linked to rate income. Nev

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The previous Whitehorse Council didn't want to have anything to do with us.A new CEO, mayor and councillors, and a very different attitude. They have been to see our operation, impressed with the service we provide for retired gentlemen, and are on board to help. They have a number of vacant buildings which are boarded up, its's a matter of working out which suits best, for size, facilities and location. Not much good having a building 20 km from where everybody lives. We also have connections with a number of Rotary Clubs (no, not helicopters), who have been generous benefactors in the past, and if we find somewhere that is suitable with a tenure of at least five years, but needs fitout/upgrade, there is a grant available through the Victorian Men's Shed Association. So it's not a matter of doom and gloom, but a matter of timing. These things don't happen over night. A bit more notice would have been appreciated, but it is what it is.

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Posted (edited)

Facthunter has pretty much nailed it. Inner city land is worth a fortune now, and industrial/commercial land is worse. Good to hear you've got the Council on board, and a grant is available. Here on the Left Coast, because the W.A. Govt owns LotteryWest (and not Tattersalls), LotteryWest hands out community grants on a huge scale (I seem to recall it was over $280M in grants handed out last year) - and Mens Sheds are often on the list of grants.

 

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2 minutes ago, onetrack said:

Inner city land is worth a fortune now, and industrial/commercial land is worse.

Yep. There are a number of factory/warehouse type buildings empty around this and neighbouring suburbs, but rent would be six times what we have been paying.If the council could let us have an empty property, or a piece of land, for a peppercorn rental for a number of years, we can get up to $80,000 in a grant to upgrade or build.

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It's most likely that we won't find suitable accomodation to move across seamlessly. It will probably be that projects will have to be shelved for a period. We may have to look at hiring something like a scout hall where we can meet, chat, have a coffee, etc. The alternatives are, as we did during the pandemic, meet at a coffee shop, or hold Zoom meetings remotely.

 

Some sheds are run like a factory. Come in, clock on, go to your work station and heads down till the lunchbell rings. There is one shed in our suburb which actually does have a lunch bell for tools down. Our shed is not like that. The first hour (10 am - 11 am) is, come in, have a cup of tea or coffee, sit and chat, discussing the news of the week since we last met, what's coming up in the near future, any personal details you care to discuss, tell yarns, footy/cricket, etc. Around 11, start doing what takes your fancy. Some go to the workshop to do personal or group projects, some tend the garden, one guy sits and does crosswords, some continue to chat, some sit back in an armchair and have a snooze. I am usually on the computer, doing my aviation stuff or tasks for the co-ordinator or other members. I also provide the humour, from the silly photos, funny videos and quickies from this website. Lunch is between 12 and 1 approximately, then back to whatever. The shed operates Monday, Thursday and Friday, roughly 10 am to 3 pm. A different group of guys attend each day (except me - I attend all 3). There are about 15 guys each day. Tuesday, the co-ordinator is at head office in Box Hill, and Wednesday, healthAbility uses the facilities for a group of young people from broken homes, school dropouts, etc. Some graduates from that course who would otherwise likely have drifted into crime or drug use, have gone on to be teachers, nurses and even one lawyer.

 

The whole point of our shed is socialisation for retired gentlemen. In the main, retired guys who have little other social contact. Maybe their wives have passed on and they are on their own - at least 5 in that category.  Loneliness and depression can set in and have a very adverse impact on health. We have saved a few from depression.  Mens health, including mental health is the key objective of our shed. Other concerns are secondary.

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Sounds like the clock on, bell ringing, whistle blowing type of sheds have missed the whole point of Men's Sheds. Some places that rely on volunteer workers are like that as well. The volunteers feel like they're working for Hitler in some of those places. You wonder what it is that the management fail to understand about the word volunteer.

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The implementation of the philosophy behind the Men's Shed movement must differ between State. In NSW I believe the Men's Shed organisation is under the wing of the State Health Department as a means of dealing with male mental and aging health issues. This means that Sheds are supplied with good quality machines in well constructed buildings. My local one is in a new, factory-type, steel-framed building  and is full of really good wood-working machinery and tools for those who want to use them, and chairs and hot water urn for those who simply want to have a cuppa and a yarn.

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At least in Victoria, each shed is individual, and run by their own rules. Some are set up almost as a business or club with elected office bearers and run their own affairs. Others, like ours, are set up by an auspicing body which runs and finances the shed, with an employee of the auspicing body appointed as co-ordinator. However, all sheds can register as part of the Victorian Men's Shed Association, which lobbies on behalf of all Victorian sheds, and acts as a sort of clearing house for goods exchanged between sheds. eg. If our shed was gifted with a large supply of plywood, more than we would use, we can advertise it to other sheds through the VMSA. Grants from the state government are processed through the VMSA.

 

Then there is the Australian Men's Shed Association, AMSA, which acts similarly with the federal government. Sheds can register with both organisations.

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The Mens Sheds in W.A. seem to be pretty well organised and well funded, by the State Govt and LotteryWest. They operate as a mens social and mental health support operation, and Kim Beazley the Governor is a patron.

The Mens Shed organisation is an umbrella organisation, and the W.A. Mens Sheds operate under it. But as with all West Australian operations, the individual sheds are independent and self-sufficient, and possess great individual initiative.

Despite operating to a formal corporate style level, it doesn't seem to crimp individual initiative, and the "can-do" approach of the individual sheds has produced some great community projects.

They often carry out restoration work on small items, but I can recall that a couple of the W.A. country sheds have restored the likes of tractors or other heritage machinery.

I think the problem with a lot of these groups is that you'll always get the people who want to run everything, and form individual gangs who want to rule.

And as I was once (well) advised by a farmer client, when we were discussing volunteer firefighting - "The simple problem is, you can't organise volunteers! Everyone wants to be his own boss, with volunteers!"

 

https://mensshedswa.org.au/

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A good leader gets everybody's opinion. You probably  need one to give the place a bit of direction. and have stuff  looked after. Allocate specific responsibilities to various individuals otherwise all the hard stuff will just be left to one willing poor bastard.  Nev

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22 hours ago, willedoo said:

Sounds like the clock on, bell ringing, whistle blowing type of sheds have missed the whole point of Men's Sheds. Some places that rely on volunteer workers are like that as well. The volunteers feel like they're working for Hitler in some of those places. You wonder what it is that the management fail to understand about the word volunteer.

Too plurry right, Willi!

I’m heartily sick of volunteers being sidelined by salaried officers and loaded up with ever-more onerous compliance paperwork. Today I was told that the community service for which I drive a bus is being taken over by a major corporation. They expect me to retrain to qualify for their favoured licence. There’s already a cronic shortage of volunteers and drivers;

I plan my life around their needs and when I can’t be there the old dears miss out.

 

Yesterday the radio was celebrating First Responders and they read out a list of services to be congratulated.

Despite being the busiest rescue agency outside the metro area, the NSW VRA didn’t rate a mention. Our fifty-odd squads have been saving lives for over half a century, yet nobody knows who we are and the media never mention us. 

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16 hours ago, Old Koreelah said:

loaded up with ever-more onerous compliance paperwork.

That seems to be a big problem with anyone dealing with Governments in any way. Teachers are having their time for teaching eaten away by the need to complete a multitude records about the progress of their students. My D-i-L manages an early learning centre (childcare) and has to bring home the paperwork in order to get it completed by deadlines. And her job no longer requires her to work with the kids; others are employed to do that. 

 

And who reads the records? Probably no one. They are simply there to satisfy a need for protection if one day someone complains or tries to sue over something.

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  • 4 weeks later...

To use a phrase supposedly said by Julius Caesar, the die has been cast. We vacate our current premses on 29 July. Arrangements have been made for us to share facilities with Manningham Men's Shed in East Doncaster until a permanent home has been established, could be 12 months or more. I visited Manningham Shed yesterday with the Thursday group. A bit of an eye opener. 

 

Their recreation room is almost as big as our entire shed, with a table tennis table, two pool tables a soccer game table (spin the players), lounge suites and a TV projector for things like footy grand finals. We have two computers for the members, their computer room has 12 computers. They have 3 woodworking rooms and a metalwork room (in a shipping crate). Their main workshop is about 3 times the size of ours. They also have a kitchen and dining area separate from the rec room, an area for artists to paint, and a couple of garden areas.

 

The problem is, it is 12 km from my place, compared to 4 km to our present location. Until I can get a car, which won't be before the estate is sorted, I will only be able to go one day a week when a friend who lives further away than I do can call by and pick me up. He only goes one day, I go three. Presently my daughter drives me the other two days, but the time taken will not fit in her work times.

 

Here are a few scenes from a video I shot while there.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Yesterday, 22 July, was the last day of normal operations at our Men's Shed. We celebrated with a BBQ. Next week will be spent packing up and removing the last of our gear, etc. We meet again on 8 August, in shared facilities at Manningham Men's Shed, until a new permanent home is available, which could be 12 - 15 months. Just this week the local council offered to make land available to build a purpose built shed/workshop and meeting place. With a grant from the Gov't program through the Men's Shed Assoc., support from other associated charities such as Rotary, and being a council initiative, this should proceed without too many problems. Unfortunately, I will have to cut back from 3 days to 1, at least until I get a car, because 12 km each way, twice a day, for my daughter to drive me and bring me home would add up to about 150 km per week, which is too much. 

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I am guessing the 150 clicks includes distance from work/home for your daughter. Shame you will be down to 1 day a week. But, you mentioned there was a bloke from your shed who could give you a lift one day a week; could you not combine that with your daughter to make it two days a week while you find a runabout?

 

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