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Breakthru at the Coonabarabran Men’s Shed

Bob Harper, Coonabarabran Men’s Shed

For a number of years the young lads from BreakThru have been coming to the Coonabarabran Men’s Shed for two hours each week.

It all began when one of the BreakThru leaders approached me about four years ago, proposing the Coonabarabran Men’s Shed host some of the lads from BreakThru. The proposal was put to the members and it was agreed that BreakThru would come to the shed one day each week, where they could make various items using shed equipment.

Since then many items have been made by the BreakThru lads, ranging from slab tables, a metal sword and shield, to book ends and many other small wooden items.

Before Christmas each of the lads made a coffee table from slab timber donated by a local timber supplier.

BreakThru offers a range of support for people whilst receiving assistance for mental health, employment, disability, homelessness or training needs. I believe having some of the young lads coming to the shed can help in some way toward these goals.

Due to the lads’ various disabilities, all work using tools is done under the watchful eyes of their leaders. Woodwork or metalcraft equipment is not allowed to be used without close supervision or assistance from myself or a carer.

This program has been of great benefit to the young lads, and I’m told that they look forward to coming to our shed each week. They are very pleasant to be with and show respect to elders – greeting me each week with a handshake, as well as when they leave.

We hold the program on a non-shed day, which is great as there is plenty of space but is sometimes a bit troublesome to have shed members engaged in the program.

It’s a great privilege to be involved with the lads from BreakThru, and it is such a pleasure to see the enthusiasm shown by these young men.  I hope to see the visits continue for years to come.

Working with the compound saw.