Naracoorte Men's Shed back in action

WELCOME: Naracoorte Men's Shed members Harold Leech and Ken Schultz
WELCOME: Naracoorte Men's Shed members Harold Leech and Ken Schultz

The Naracoorte Men's Shed is back and better than ever and is ready to welcome new members through the shed doors.

Wood section shed manager Harold Leech said the shed was travelling nicely after COVID-19 and was open for business again.

"We are back to normal with just a few restrictions such as keeping our distance and not handling food," he said.

"Other than that, the shed itself is operating virtually back to normal.

"We held our AGM recently, we have a few new members on the committee and our workshop is flat out, we are getting lots of people wanting things done.

"Our membership has increased slightly - We've lost a few but we've gained more than what we lost.

"We have just had a new extension put on the back. Our metal working section is going out of the main building into their own space, which should be good.

"We haven't quite moved in yet, it's at lockup stage, the concrete floor is in, we just finished the electrics and they are painting it at the moment ad they'll be moving in in the next week or two.

"Everything is going on really really well here."

It is excellent news for the group, which provides a space for men to go for help and support, while also supporting the community.

"I really believe in what the men's shed is all about, it is a wonderful thing," Mr Leech said.

" if I have to be down there more often to do things, then good, as long as it's helping somebody.

"We also work in conjunction with an organisation called Shed Happens - they deal with men that have got problems with depression, suicidal tendencies, that sort of thing.

"They deal with them at the pointy end, so what we do is that if they get people that are in the very early stages of that problem, they recommend us to them.

The theory is if they come here and get involved and they want to do something, if you have something you want to do, it will minimise the chance of them going down that road towards depression. So we like to think that we are helping at the start of depression.

"We are pretty versatile. The main reason we are here is for the health and wellbeing for men.

"That is our prime role, to look after the men in the town, because they need it.

"We help people, but we try to get people to help themselves - there is no point in people coming along to watch me make something, so we encourage them.

"We have a lot of high-tech machinery, which we will operate to make the bits and pieces and they can put them together, unless they are that way inclined, then we can teach them how to use the machines."

"The bottom line is, it's fun."

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The success of the shed since they officially opened the doors in 2017 has continued to grow.

"We've been very very fortunate in a lot of ways, we have a fair bit of equipment now that we use and that helps to fill it up, and we have more and more people that want to use our services," Mr Leech said.

"In previous years we have mentored the Independent Learning Centre, we have hosted the Limestone Ladies, we've got a couple of younger people with some issues that come along with their carers, we do community things and we have done some stuff with the library."

Most recently, the group constructed the frame for the Sheep's Back Museum new model railway exhibit.

They also offer very fair prices on projects for community members

"We have to do projects that raise money - we are not-for-profit but we need to pay electricity and buy new tools and that sort of thing so we like to get some paying projects,

"We are very reasonable on our prices, and we try not to compete with the town businesses so what we try to do is fix things for people - often it's small things that is not worth the while of the businesses - or making something you can't buy in Naracoorte - we have some mobile potting trolleys for sale down at the nursery that have been doing well.

"We are supplying a need, we're keeping the blokes busy and we're making a few bob to pay our bills, so it's win, win, win for the community.

"We are not out to make a lot of money as long as we can keep the place running and replace things when we need."

National Men's Shed Week is coming up on September 26 to October 4 and it will be a great opportunity to learn what the shed is all about, with the shed considering holding open days to encourage people to come along.

The Naracoorte Men's Shed is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9am to 1pm every week and new members are welcome.