April 2nd, 2022Open for (men’s) business
TRENTHAM’S Cool Country Men’s Shed was officially opened after a two year delay thanks to Covid restrictions. The shed, at 55 Mulcahys Road, opened on March 19.
President Tony Johnston said he wanted to see the shed “alive with men being together sharing skills, knowledge, life stories and companionship”.
“It’s not just about wood or metal working skills, it’s about men’s health, which can be physical or mental. Some men have a sense of loneliness; it’s the isolation that can occur after retirement or the loss of a life partner. Or they might have moved to Trentham and districts and lost their close social networks, there’s also the fear of Covid-19. If we can improve men’s health, the whole community benefits.”
Mr Johnston said the shed’s members were given permission from the Dja Dja Wurrung Corporation and the Department of Environment, Land, Water, and Planning to use the 1.2 hectares of land.
“Initially we were given $6000 from the Hairy Arch Art Show (part of our local art community), then we received $60,000 from the state government, our local Bendigo Bank invested $42,500, $20,000 came from the federal government, $15,000 from the Trentham Lions Club, as well as $15,000 from the Australian Lions Foundation. We’ve also received many donations from our generous community.”
Mr Johnston said the idea for a Men’s Shed in Trentham had been a long time in the making, with initial discussions in the community in 2006. But it wasn’t until 2016 that a committee was formed and in 2018 project funding began to come through and works could begin.
The shed has many donated tools, including a sliding table saw, a router table, wood and metal lathes, some welding equipment, and a wood heater. It has a well-equipped lounge, a functional kitchen, and was built with fully accessible facilities. Tony tells me that if community groups have a project they want, they can submit a Project Request Form for consideration by the Men’s Shed Committee.
Tony’s original idea to make his dream of a men’s shed a reality came from his hope to reduce the suicide risk in the community. “There’s been several suicides in the last few years that have affected our community. I hope that bringing men together in this way can help in some way to prevent further tragedies.”
With Covid-19 restrictions and lockdowns over the last two years causing social isolation, especially among the elderly, the opening of Trentham’s Cool Country Men’s Shed will help local men come together and enjoy the facilities and companionship at the Shed.
From left, Stephen Adams, Peter Gibbs,Tony Johnston, Joseph Bonnici and Charles Sherlock were thrilled to finally officially open the Trentham Mens Shed after two years of delays because of Covid-19
Words & Image: Sandy Scheltema