A watershed moment

AFTER more than five years of perseverance, the Mooloolah Valley Men’s Shed is nearing completion, much to the delight of the community.

What started in 2018 as a meeting led by Burnie Verwayan to establish a Men’s Shed committee has finally borne fruit.

The journey was not without its challenges.

Right from the outset, the Mooloolah Lions Club was a stalwart supporter.

Michael McMahon, who later became the president of the initiative, tragically passed away during his tenure without witnessing this landmark achievement.

The project also lost Allan O’Callaghan, who was heavily involved in the association. (Details regarding Allan’s specific role are pending confirmation.)

The current committee, with members dedicating hundreds, if not thousands, of hours, is seeing the fruits of their labour.

“Without the expertise and dedication of a small group of men, we wouldn’t be where we are today,” said Colin Roy, the current president.

Thanks to a $250,000 federal grant, the sod was officially turned in late September, with the internal fit-out set to be the first project undertaken by the members themselves.

The facility will be located behind the Mooloolah Valley Community Centre, covering approximately 400m2. It will offer workstations for woodworking and metalwork, along with social spaces to foster fellowship and friendship.

Yet, the work is far from over.

“We still have months of work ahead of us to get the workshops for metal and wood up and running,” said Roy.

“We’ll be calling on our members to bring their skills and trades to help get the shed fully functioning.

Meanwhile, we’ll be focused on signing up more members and bringing more fellowship and friendship to the shed.”

This project serves as more than just a physical space; it’s a crucial step towards addressing social isolation in the community, especially among older men.

The benefits of the shed extend beyond hobbyist activities, acting as a sanctuary where men can discuss mental health openly, learning from each other’s experiences and knowledge.

While the wait has been long, the impact of the Men’s Shed promises to be profound and far-reaching. Families across the region can expect to feel the positive ripple effects in mental and physical health, as their men find a new haven for camaraderie and skill-sharing.

Publicity Officer Daniel Johns, a recent addition to the committee, expressed his enthusiasm for being part of the initiative.

“I joined because I want to be part of the community and have the opportunity to give back. I love the idea of being able to connect with the older men of our community because they have so many skills and a great deal of knowledge to share,” he said.

As the Mooloolah Valley Men’s Shed moves closer to its completion date in mid-2023, the sense of accomplishment is tangible, but the community knows that the real work has only just begun.

For those interested in getting involved or contributing to the project, please reach out to the MCMS Secretary, Chuck Clutterbuck, at 0408 887 626.

Main image: The Mooloolah Men’s Shed is now officially open.