A PROPOSAL to build a purpose-built Men’s Shed in Merredin has been discussed at a preliminary informal meeting at the Merredin shire offices last Wednesday.
A proposal to build one in Merredin was instigated by Jim Flockart who organised the meeting last week.
Those in attendance included shire president Ken Hooper, shire chief executive Greg Powell, James (Sam) Teasdale, Steve Higgins, Ron Jahn, Trevor Elliot, John Tuppen and Bev Flockart.
Jim welcomed everyone and explained the initial meeting was to gain ideas towards a formal organised meeting with the general public.
Community Men’s Sheds are hailed as a successful service in many Wheatbelt towns such as Mukinbudin.
They are said to benefit men’s health and well-being by providing a place for them to tinker with old machinery or do other ‘blokes-only’ activities while enjoying social interaction.
Jim said it would be necessary to canvass the idea of a Merredin Men’s Shed to gather support in the region.
Discussion on the reason behind the Men’s Shed concept included the need for ‘hands on’ activities in a variety of fields for some people and also the need for companionship in others.
Discussions were about the size and possible venue for the planned shed and also availability of funding through the shire.
“Examples of activities conducted in other towns have been to restore old machinery and engines, make outdoor furniture for sale and grow vegetables – the list is endless and varies dependant on what the local population requires,” Bev Flockart said.
“It does not necessarily have to be only for the use of retired people.”
There are currently 230 Men’s Sheds throughout Australia.
Shire president Ken Hooper said the council supported the idea and would work with the group to achieve the aim.
Funding for the project will not be possible immediately because of commitments already made for other shire projects, but the 2011/2012 budget is a likely time frame.
Funding from Royalties for Regions could be another source of financial assistance.
“There will be much planning to be done in the meantime and following an initial public meeting where a steering committee will be formed, there will be regular meetings to keep interest and plan the project,” Mrs Flockart said.
James (Sam) Teasdale and John Tuppen have take on positions as contact people and anyone wishing to become involved in the concept should contact them to show support for the project.
Dates for the first official meeting will be advised but will probably be in late July or early August.