Menz Shed cre­ate handy­man’s haven

Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough - - FRONT PAGE - MIKEWATSON

Blen­heim’s Menz Shed mem­bers are ex­pand­ing their hori­zons.

Un­shack­led by the rou­tine of day-to­day house­hold chores, the small group of tinker­ers have been hard at work build­ing an en­gi­neer­ing work­shop at the Dil­lons Point Rd base.

The work­shop, built plumb against the ex­ist­ing join­ery shop, was of­fi­cially opened in March by former Marl­bor­ough Mayor Alis­tair Sow­man.

Blen­heim’s Menz Shed chair­man Dave Oliver says since then the mem­bers have been busy ac­quir­ing the nec­es­sary tools and ma­chines.

They have also been erect­ing shelv­ing, paint­ing and gen­er­ally mak­ing the work­shop a purpose-built fa­cil­ity fit for any crafts­man.

‘‘It’s taken us a long time to fi­nalise every­thing since the of­fi­cial open­ing,’’ he says.

‘‘We’ve been paint­ing the in­te­rior and rais­ing funds to pro­vide ma­chin­ery.’’

A multi-func­tional weld­ing ma­chine has been do­nated to the group by Blen­heim firm, Bear­ing and Ac­ces­sory Cen­tre.

The ma­chine will be in­valu­able for any light en­gi­neer­ing projects, from fix- ing bi­cy­cles to re­pair­ing small ob­jects, Dave says.

‘‘We get a lot of bro­ken items come in for re­pairs, such as let­ter­boxes, mow­ers and bikes which we can now ap­ply our skills for re­pairs.

‘‘The welder will also prove use­ful in help­ing mem­bers learn­ing from oth­ers to im­prove their skill base.’’

The group will soon take pos­ses­sion of a used milling ma­chine, and a router, and is on the look­out for more ma­chin­ery to add to the work­shop, he says.

Blen­heim Menz Shed, one of four in the re­gion, has been up and run­ning since 2012 pro­vid­ing a handy­man’s haven for hob­by­ists with time on their hands. The mem­ber­ship sits around 35. ‘‘We are here for men to learn new skills and to com­plete their own projects, big or small,’’ Dave says.

He joined the na­tion­wide move­ment from word of mouth.

‘‘It pro­vides a good space to im­prove the health and well­be­ing of many men whose spouses have passed on, and find them­selves alone.

‘‘There are a large num­ber of mem­bers from all sorts of back­grounds and vary­ing lev­els of prac­ti­cal skills.

‘‘The im­por­tant part is that we all pro- vide en­cour­age­ment to each other to make ev­ery­one feel wel­come.’’

Among the com­mu­nity projects com­pleted by the Menz Shed has been a green house for Ran­gi­tane iwi.

PHOTO: DEREK FLYNN/FAIRFAX NZ

Blen­heim Menz mem­ber Ian Clough has 58 years of en­gi­neer­ing back­ground to help im­prove the skill lev­els of fel­low mem­bers.

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