Community News

Men’s Shed celebrates milestone

  What a wonderful afternoon was had on Saturday, September 17 when members and their partners gathered to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Clarence River u3a Men’s Shed. The Shed overflowed with the feeling of friendship and echoed with the sound of fun and laughter as many a story was told about the early days of the Men’s Shed. Group Leader Allan Woods, welcomed everyone and thanked all who had been involved in getting the Men’s Shed to where it is today and extended a special welcome to Bill Burns and to Roz Simpson who had travelled up from Tuncurry to be part of the celebrations. Roz’s late husband, Bob, was a foundation member. A number of members spoke on what the Men’s Shed meant to them, evoking emotional feelings for some and wonderful memories for others. Doreen Plymin, Group Leader of the Women’s Shed, thanked Men Shed members for their help, guidance and patience each Friday, and added that they were duly rewarded with delicious cakes for their morning tea. It was wonderful that a number of ‘old’ members were able to come along and join in the celebrations and to see their expression when seeing the ‘new’ facility and the machinery and tools that it housed compared to ten years ago when a small group of men gathered to discuss the idea of forming a Men’s Shed. As they say, from little things big things grow, and the success of the CRu3a Men’s Shed is proof of that. Starting off with nothing but a dream and enthusiasm to create a place where men could meet and share their skills, Allan Woods, Andrew Kan, Bob Ahern, Rob Faulkner, the late Bob Simpson, Geoff  Leviny, Roger Tucker and Bill Simpson set their sights on achieving that dream. With no available funds the problem of finding suitable premises was solved when Bill Burns generously offered the use of a disused dairy shed on his Romiaka Channel property free of charge, with the Men’s Shed paying for the electricity they used. It took nine months of hard work to bring the Shed up to a habitable standard for the men to occupy as the dairy was in its original state complete with cow bails, cream separator and milking machines… and of course years of cow pats! Once the building had been repaired and secured there was an influx of new members along with welcomed donations (or loan) of tools and machinery by members of the community. These were put to good use helping many other community members and groups with projects, for a small charge, as well as working on their personal ones. It was a idylic, peaceful environment and the Men’s Shed numbers flourished with an average of 20 attending each Tuesday and Thursday. By 2009 it was obvious that this beautiful haven was now too small and Council was approached in regard to finding land to build a new and larger Men’s Shed. And, the rest as they say is history! Council found the land and donated $40,000 towards the project, CRu3a was successful in its application for a grant of over $68,000 from 2010 Community Building Partnership Program and with a lot of hard work by members, the Men’s Shed relocated to Townsend in 2011. The Men’s Shed continues to flourish and prides itself in not only providing a first-class facility but also help and assistance for the wellbeing of all its members.   Patricia Kan