In their own words, all spoken with pride, passion and a sense of personal reflection, Bruce Carle, Kevin Watkins and Warren Moss are incredibly proud of the Grafton U3A Men’s Shed and its place in the Clarence Valley community.
They are proud of how far it has come since it was established in November, 2005.
They are also proud of their individual involvement and how the Men’s Shed has made a positive difference to “the lives of many local men who battled their own inner demons and endured personal struggles through the years”.
But above all, they are proud of what the Men’s Shed still has to offer.
The three men have been members of the community-based association for several years respectively, each joining for their own reasons, each one finding what they were looking for, and more.
The Australian Men’s Shed Association provides a safe, friendly and healing environment for its members with a key focus on mental health and well-being.
It’s an opportunity for members to dedicate their time towards working on individual and meaningful projects at their own pace, in their own time and in the company of others in a supportive network.
Describing the Grafton U3A Men’s Shed as a “wonderful association”, Mr Moss speaks fondly as he reflects on all the men whose lives have been changed and positively influenced by their time there.
Along with fellow members Mr Watkins and Mr Carle, Mr Moss, who was one of the first to become involved with the Men’s Shed in Grafton after helping to establish it 15 years ago, is encouraging more local men to attend and for previous members to re-join following the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It’s a really marvellous place to attend, especially if you want to get something off your chest and talk to others,” he said.
Mr Moss said the local association has also “had fellas who were suicidal come here” where they “found some relief” and improved their mental health.
As well as providing a safe environment, Mr Moss said the Men’s Shed is also a great place for recently retired men to go to as they readjust to life after work.
The Grafton U3A Men’s Shed is also involved in community events and charities.
Each year, members build projects for childcare groups and local societies, including the Jacaranda Festival when junior and senior Jacaranda Queen candidates and the Matron of Honour are gifted beautifully crafted wooden jewellery boxes.
Mr Carle, who has been coming to the Grafton U3A Men’s Shed for the past five years said he “needed to be doing something outside of home.”
“I had depression and I’ve had it for a long time, but the Men’s Shed does help in that respect,” he recalls.
“I think it’s good to get out and meet other men, talk to them and do things for the community.”
His words are echoed by Mr Watkins, a former woodwork teacher who became involved with the association following his retirement when it was suggested his professional skills would benefit other members.
“I rolled up here and I met some of the other men and when they heard I had worked as a woodwork teacher, I was asked if I could make a blanket box and that was my first project and how I started my involvement here,” he said.
“I love making things, it’s a sense of achievement and I really enjoy the time I spend here with the rest of the men because it does have a strong community presence and it’s good to be a part of that.”
The Grafton U3A Men’s Shed is located at the Old Brewery Industrial Complex in North Street.
For further inquiries, please contact Mr Carle on 0409 225 536.