Earlier this year Wal Sheehan, President Narooma Men’s Shed, presented to Council his concerns that time was fast running out for the Mens Shed to find new quarters as the lease of their current site runs out next year. Speaking on the Recreation and Open Space Strategy (ROSS) to Council on the 27th Feb 2018 Wal outlined the alternate sites that they had looked at to date and advised the Councillors of the rapidly fading timeline that awaited the men's group which would see them without a home.
Wal advised the Council that the Men’s Shed and Montague Arts and Crafts that currently occupy the Glass House Roacks Road site consists of 250 members of the Narooma and Dalmeny area, focused on recreations with a purpose. He informed them that the Mens Shed provided health activities in the form of wood and metal work, art, crafts and horticulture and that they sought to challenge people to enjoy their hobbies, keep their mind active, as well providing an opportunity to serve the community and be recognised for their contribution. "The Mens Shed caters for the +55 age range (which is 1 out of every 2 people in the area). We are 10 years older than the average person in Eurobodalla. "There are now over 1,000 Men (Community) Sheds in Australia, the majority established with council assistance, because Councils see the benefits in addressing health issues and ageing in today’s Society.
"We deal on a day to day basis with the following mental health issues; Isolation Bereavement Relocation to a new community Dealing with members who have issues with cancer with poor prognosis Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Suicide prevention Giving people a reason to get out of bed and out of the house "In simple terms we provide a community wellness centre (focussing on hobbies and helping the community) without receiving any recurring expenditure support from the community
Wal advised the Councillors in his address that "We are , presently operating 5 days a week out of leased premises in Glasshouse Rocks Rd and we have been dealing with trying to obtain a permanent site to operate from. "We have been fortunate to have a ‘peppercorn’ rent of $1 per year from inception to 30 Sep 2019, on the present site as long as we paid all outgoings. The men at the shed have taken an old run down hire facility, and over that time, turned it into one of the best Men’s (and Community) Shed in the country, all without any tangible help from council until this year when we received a rate subsidy.
"The vacant parcels around the Narooma Area that have been promoted by the Men’s Shed as possible solutions to providing a permanent site have, to date, all have been rejected by Council staff Wall continued saying "We have pursued and been rejected by council staff on all attempts to move forward with a permanent site. "Until we have a permanent site available we cannot apply for Federal or State grants to build a Community Shed concept as we have submitted to you in our ROSS submission. "It is not a solution to stay on the existing property and expect it to succeed and grow on a pay as you go basis. It is a community asset and as such needs to be in the community’s hands to manage as per the ROSS directions for community halls. "Whether we have a Narooma Men’s (Community) shed in the future is in your hands. Failing to move forward now to specify a permanent site will ultimately lead to the demise of this valuable community asset in 18 months’ time.
Above: Some of the Mens Shed members with Member for Bega, Andrew Constance