Doors may close on shed
MEN’S SERVICE FACES MONEY WOES AS FUNDING GETS CUT
THE Shed in Emerton could face closure after the Federal Government reallocated funding to suicide prevention services.
The men’s group has been operating for 12 years, helping more than 400 residents a month with everything from finance to drug and alcohol rehabilitation.
On Christmas Eve, The Shed was notified by the Federal Government that its usual funding would no longer be available and it would be forced to re-apply for funding or face closure from July 1.
Co-ordinator Rick Welsh said The Shed was a vital asset for the people of Mt Druitt.
“Although we are Aboriginal-male targeted, we don’t refuse service to women or anyone needing help,” Mr Welsh said.
“Sometimes people come here just for a chat and other times people come with very complex cases.
“We help people access services, housing and already have access to existing health partnerships. In this sense The Shed is a hub – a one-stop shop for all these services. It would be great to keep it going.”
Chifley federal Labor MP Ed Husic condemned the move by the government.
“I absolutely demand of the Health Minister a clear assurance that this new arrangement will not result in men’s sheds being shut down and mental health support being denied to people in need in my area, all because of some reorganisation – some bureaucratic mindset – that says they are going to change the way the strategy is run,” Mr Husic said.
“The Turnbull Government is hiding behind a sneaky, bureaucratic funding reshuffle to shut this important service. I’m determined to do what I can to stop this happening.”
A Health Department spokeswoman said local primary health networks would now direct suicide prevention activities.
Mt Druitt’s primary health network, WentWest, said it was informed of the work being done by The Shed.
“WentWest, as the Western Sydney Primary Health Network (WSPHN), is aware of the great work men’s shed provides to marginalised and isolated males in western Sydney,” she said.
“In the meantime WSPHN is working with service providers to both seek their input into our needs analysis planning and to consider the best way to enhance funding and support for suicide prevention initiatives in western Sydney moving into the future.”
Mr Husic will be holding urgent talks with The Shed representatives this week to receive an update on their plans to save the service.
The Shed’s cultural worker Don Mulholland and co-ordinator Rick Welsh.