For seven years the Parkes Men’s Shed has become a second home to almost 130 members. “We’re a social club,” said Ron Fewings, President; “The majority of men come in for a cuppa and sit around for a chat.” It’s this set-up that has made the Men’s Shed movement so special. According to the Australian Men’s Shed Association most men have learned from their culture that they don’t talk about feelings and emotions with many not taking an interest in their own health and wellbeing.
This means that they suffer more from isolation, loneliness and depression. Becoming a member of a Men’s Shed provides a safe environment where men can enjoy an atmosphere of old-fashioned mate ship without any pressure. According to Ron, some members have recognized that becoming a member has been a lifesaver, especially those who have lost their wives. One member was so grateful he left $21,000 in his Will to the Parkes shed.
The men have been so proactive they had to extend their shed at the showgrounds two years ago to create extra
workspace. “The community support has been fantastic,” said Ron as he listed the businesses that donated labour, material and expertise. “One of our biggest projects has been building bird boxes for Northparkes Mines and the Roads Authority. Every time a tree is knocked down, the law requires you to put up two bird boxes for nesting.” Ron said they had to start a production line, which enabled them to make more than 20 boxes per day and about 300 in total so far; “We were also asked to make a bee hive, which was fairly complicated, but managed to make it for $750 less to what it was sold for commercially.”
The Parkes Men’s Shed is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8.30am to 12pm.
By Maggi Barnard