Neil Plumridge, Men in a Shed Dareton (NSW)
The blokes of Men in a Shed Dareton are looking forward to moving into a brand new purpose-built premises after years in an old packing shed, but at least a few of the members will be sad to leave the old digs.
If anyone asks what’s involved with building a 50m x 40m shed, the first bit of advice we would give them is find a good psychiatrist, and book weekly sessions!
Our journey started with a conversation about the long term future of our shed and the need for significant renovations to look after our ageing members and encourage new members to join.
So we began our journey some two years ago embarking on conversations with our local council, bank and sporting club. From this point we needed land, which council kindly provided and then to getting quotes from building companies.
We soon realised the need for a professional project manager. We were lucky enough to secure a very, very good one. As with all building projects, there were many “speed bumps“ to navigate.
We are now at the stage where we have the shell of the new shed standing.
The shed is 45m by 40m in size, with a 5m front verandah. The surrounding area will be landscaped with Australian natives to attract bird life.
After the new shed was raised a lot of members commented – “it’s too small, we need a second shed”… Like that was going to happen!
The floor is next to go in, then on to power. These will be closely followed by a main front door and windows, along with CCTV cameras.
The inside will come next, lining the meeting area along with the electrical needs for the inside of the shed.
A lot! In the end it will be in excess of $1.4 million.
As far as funding this venture, it has taken many hours of submission writing but we would not have even started without substantial assistance from AMSA, our local Bendigo Community Bank, Coomealla Memorial Club, and Wentworth Shire Council.
Our contribution has mainly been through the collection of bottles and cans for recycling.
Over the past three years we have raised over $30,000 toward our running costs and the new build.
Has it been worth the effort?
A BIG definitive yes. It will be a major boost to our community based on the junction of the Murray and Darling Rivers, and our current shed and the new one are well worth a road trip—we extend an open invitation to all sheds to come visit.
Better serving the local community
Our current shed caters for virtually every interest imaginable – from fine woodwork, metal work, restoring old agricultural equipment right through to restoring a Sabre Jet!
Another aspect to Men’s Sheds is the mental and physical health of members, and this is a primary objective of our shed.
Our new shed will better cater for members with physical disabilities. Aside from the mandated toilet and access requirements, we will have things like machine used aids, height adjustable benches and facilities for members to just enjoy a cuppa over a game of cards, a puzzle, maybe painting (the list goes on!).
Recently we had Matt join our shed. Matt has Huntington’s Disease and while he enjoys coming to the shed, the new one with its facilities will open up his possibilities even more.
It is hoped that we will see more members of the community join us to enjoy what we have on offer.