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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Men’s Sheds help with ‘second wave’ of bushfire recovery

Weston Creek Men’s Shed president Alan Booth is coordinating with the Quaama Men’s Shed to send a second shipping container of donated tools and craft supplies to help bushfire-affected residents in the NSW Bega Valley.

The idea came when Quaama Men’s Shed Member and South Coast businessman Don Firth began making shelving units and desks for people who had lost everything.

As demand grew, Don reached out to Weston Creek for help and they responded.

From just their own resources, they filled a shipping container with tools, but the appreciation, gratitude and continual need has expanded the project and they are now calling for donations to add to the cargo.

“They’ve got a second wave of people affected by the fire that’s coming through,” Alan said.

“They’re the ones that got on with it, tidied up and did some things without worrying about all the handouts available and now they realise they need something extra.

“They are very proud people some of them. They know help is there, but they want to do it themselves or they think someone is worse off than them.”

The Australian Men’s Shed Association has nearly 1,000 clubs across Australia and they exist to support the mental and physical wellbeing of men of all ages.

According to the association’s website, “becoming a member of a Men’s Shed provides a safe and busy environment where men can feel good about themselves, be productive, contribute to the community, connect with friends and maintain an active body and mind in an atmosphere of old-fashioned mateship”.

Alan said they get a lot of phone calls, mostly from women whose husbands have died, and they want help clearing out their garage.

“We usually go around and clear it out for them and sort it out, what’s rubbish and what we can use for ourselves,” Alan said.

“But also, now we have this down the coast, we can put it in the container and send it down. Most of the stuff is tools, equipment, and chainsaws, but we put in some extra bit and pieces including craft work.

“That was well received by the women down there, because men get all the tools to play with but the women don’t get anything.”

The boys from the men’s shed are working on a needs-basis and are currently creating a list of needs, including fishing equipment and working white goods.

The Weston Creek Men’s Shed members meet socially on Thursday to take trips and play cards and conduct workshops on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, selling some of their made items for fundraising.

Alan said usually their biggest fundraisers of the year were their three Bunnings barbecues, but due to COVID they have made alternative plans.

Alan Booth and the ‘band of merry men’ from Weston Men’s Shed will be at Cooleman Court this Friday (18 December) selling their woodwork, seeking donations and raising awareness. To contribute to their shipping container, email them via [email protected]

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