So how do you join a Men’s Shed?

The Shed - - Build A Set Of Bunks -

The Shed sounded out Men’s Shed North Shore trustee Bernard Gard­ner on the se­lec­tion process for prospec­tive mem­bers. Turns out that it’s less strin­gent than NASA’s as­tro­naut pro­gramme.

The Shed : Who is the right kind of per­son to be a shed­die?

Bernard: Any­body.

Re­ally? Surely you’d have to have some ba­sic DIY skills at least?

Not even that. Dif­fer­ent peo­ple get dif­fer­ent things out of it. We have some mem­bers who just come in for a cof­fee and a chat at lunchtime and they’re ev­ery bit as wel­come as the next guy. It’s a sec­ond home for some peo­ple and that’s fine.

The ma­jor­ity of mem­bers in the work­shop to­day seem to be for­mer trades­men.

Maybe tradies are more likely to know about the Men­zshed [move­ment] al­ready — and they know that they’ll find the tools [that] they used pro­fes­sion­ally in our work­shop. It’s a seam­less pro­gres­sion for them. That’s prob­a­bly half the mem­ber­ship but we get peo­ple from all walks of life. I can think of busi­ness peo­ple, ar­chi­tects, IT peo­ple, and we have peo­ple on the board who were busi­ness peo­ple, project man­agers, and ac­coun­tants. I guess you grav­i­tate to what you know.

Is it just for re­tired peo­ple?

Most mem­bers are re­tired or semire­tired and that’s where the idea came from — to help re­tired peo­ple stay ac­tive and do some­thing use­ful — but we do have younger mem­bers as well. It’s pretty handy for peo­ple who don’t have the skills or tools for a project but are tak­ing it on any­way. It’s a great way to get some ex­pe­ri­ence and guid­ance, maybe avoid some mis­takes, and get some free help. We’ve had one young guy fit­ting out a van with a bed in the back and sev­eral guys pitched in on that one.

Do you get peo­ple join­ing who have no hand skills at all?

We get peo­ple come in who just want to help out and that’s fine be­cause we can al­ways find some­thing they can do, even if it’s just paint­ing, un­til they gain more con­fi­dence.

Do peo­ple get a men­tor to help them?

It’s not that for­mal, but if they are help­ing out there will be some­one keep­ing an eye on them. For some peo­ple, help­ing out is just the thing you do be­tween the real busi­ness of the day — hav­ing a nat­ter. There’s no pres­sure so there’s al­ways some­one who’s got time for a chat. If pushed, I’d say [that] the min­i­mum re­quire­ments would be the abil­ity to boil a ket­tle and have an opin­ion on some­thing. They are some of our favourite peo­ple.

So what does it cost to join?

Well we have costs to meet. Our ex­pen­di­ture is more than $20K a year … It’s an an­nual fee of $90 a year. Our shed’s open from 9am to 4pm on Mon­days and Wed­nes­days and 9am to 2pm on Fri­days and Satur­days, but you have to give your­self time to clean up and pack away.

Has a woman ever asked to join?

Bernard: Ac­tu­ally, we have five women mem­bers al­ready. As I said, this shed is for ev­ery­one.

Larry Klassen: And let’s not for­get the women who turned up here with their hus­bands and got them to sign up. Ac­tu­ally, we did a sur­vey of mem­bers a while back ask­ing them if we should go from open­ing three days a week to four. We had quite a few mem­bers’ wives re­spond say­ing yes, def­i­nitely!

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.