With a policy of being able to “do as much or as little as you like”, the Wudinna Men’s Shed continues to grow as a space for men in the region.
Wudinna Men’s Shed president Craig Jericho said the shed was open to all as a place to engage, create and feel at home.
“It is about people from different age groups coming together to help each other, exchange ideas and learn off each other,” he said.
“It gives retired people something to do, as well as younger people in town to go to a place which isn’t the pub, the bowls club or something like that.
“Everybody is welcome and there is not pressure to do anything, you can just come along to have a chat – it is a chance to talk about men’s health, for example.”
While open to simply talk, the shed and its 35 members ranging from men in their 20s to those in their 80s, who meet every Thursday night with about 15 people regularly in attendance, are also engaged in a number of activities.
“We have been assembling some sheet feeders for the older people lately, we made furniture for the Show Society, we had one guy making outdoor furniture for the bakery and one guy working on toys,” Mr Jericho said.
“We helped the local footy club with one of their nights recently, working on the bar for them and while we didn’t do too much as a group at the recent Wudinna Show, if there was an event where we could show off what we have made, for example, we’d be open to being there.”
The Wudinna Shed was founded two years ago, while the group moved into its current shed in August 2016.
“It started through Dr Scott Lewis and another gentleman who has left the district who were looking for a place to go,” Mr Jericho said.
“It started at the local doctor’s surgery and Scott has been involved since the start.”
Mr Jericho said feedback from members had been “really good” but they were always looking at ways to improve the experience.
“We have such a diverse range of people, from those in Wudinna to some farmers and others who work nine to five,” he said.
“We have had good feedback on the shed and we are not a footy club or church group, it doesn’t matter who you are or your skill base as there is always something to do or somebody to talk to.
“We mostly have people at Wudinna but some who want to come in from Yanninee and Minnipa, however some don’t want to come down at night so we are looking at opening up during summer on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon too, to do something different.”
Mr Jericho said having the weekly gathering at night allowed those who work during the day the opportunity to come along as it was not just a place for retired people.
The Wudinna Shed received a $7000 federal grant earlier this year to upgrade its lighting and power facilities.
“It helped us a lot and to be able to be recognised to get some money to improve the power situation made everybody feel good,” Mr Jericho said.
“That work has been finished and it was performed by one of our local electricians, so the money stayed in the district.”
Mr Jericho, Mr Lewis, Tyron Cummings and David Dorward went to Gold Coast last month as part of the National Men’s Shed Conference.
“It was a really good conference where we were able to listen to seminars on different topics relating to Men’s Shed’s and also visit a few sheds in the area,” Mr Jericho said.
“I think we got a lot out of it, more so from networking with other people as we could talk about other sheds, how they operate and bounce ideas off each other.”