Building a strong community
Talking about our feelings isn’t easy for everyone. And it can be particularly tough for older men.
Men’s Sheds play a huge role in many communities across Tassie. They’re a safe place for those who need support, and the Men’s Shed in Ulverstone is no exception.
"Men are not as good at socialising or opening up to each other," Men’s Shed volunteer Ian Nettleton said.
Everyone is welcome at the Central Coast Community Shed.
"To be in an environment where it’s encouraged makes a big difference to men’s mental health."
The Men’s Shed runs three times a week at the Central Coast Community Shed. For many members, it’s their only time to socialise.
Wood work is the biggest pastime. They work on their own projects, build cubby houses and craft backdrops for the local theatre. They also fix broken furniture for a gold coin donation.
The group is mostly made up of ex-tradesmen, ex-farmers and ex-miners. They help each other out with every new project. And even if you’re not the handiest, they’re a great bunch to learn from.
"I had a particular project when I first started here," Ian said.
"The group quickly realised I wasn’t the most practical tool in the shed," he laughed.
"They all came along with helpful suggestions and they were really beaut like that."
While they get their hands dirty, the men share what they’re going through. From physical and mental health to death, relationships, retirement and other private issues.
"They start to open up and talk about things that guys don’t usually talk about," Ian said.
"This is an environment where they feel comfortable doing that."
It’s not just the wood work. They take fishing trips and work in the garden together. They chat with mental health guest speakers and support each other at the morning tea table. It all makes a big difference.
It can be emotional, but the progress the men have made since joining the Men’s Shed has been so positive.
"There have been times when it’s been really emotional and really revealing," Ian said.
"The fact that they can be so open and articulate about it in that group environment is a real eye opener for blokes."
The Men’s Shed has been after a new wood turning lathe to help with their projects. We helped make this a reality through our Community Fund. And they’re already getting some great use out of their new machine.
"It was announced at morning tea and the guys were thrilled," Ian said.
"To get a guernsey for that was really gratifying."
If you’re in Ulverstone looking for mateship, support and creativity, the Men’s Shed could be the perfect place to start.