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I’ll be in the shed

17 Oct 2011

I’ll be in the shed Image

Residents are getting behind a campaign for a “men’s shed” to be built within Southbank, with an initial meeting held during October to discuss the idea.

The suggestion for such a community space was raised by Peter Harkin, a resident, who became frustrated at having no-where in his Southbank apartment to do odd jobs.

After Mr Harkin was reprimanded by building management for spray-painting in his car space, he decided it was time to approach the council and get the idea rolling.

“After 30 years of having my own space, moving into an apartment with no-where to work has been difficult, and I wanted to find a solution to that,” Mr Harkin said.

Mr Harkin spoke to John Harris, the City of Melbourne’s community partnerships co-ordinator, and the idea was born.

The first meeting was held at the Southbank Resident Group’s meeting room at the Boyd school site.

Mr Harris presented the group with examples of what a community space such as this could be (including the recently-opened Carlton’s Men’s Shed) and the group responded very positively to the idea.

Mr Harris pledged the council’s support and commitment to get the idea off the ground. He also agreed for the council to research an appropriate site for the shed.

He was buoyed by the response from the community, saying: “There are enough people in this room with enough skills that this group can develop a shed.”

To add to the council support, Acting Lord Mayor Susan Riley also showed she approved of the idea.

“It is brilliant to see so much support for the men’s shed in Southbank, a place where men can come together around hobbies, craftsmanship and learning. This is an exciting community initiative for residents of Southbank and we look forward to seeing the outcomes of the working group,” Cr Riley said.

Upon hearing exactly what a “men’s shed” is, the group of men, and one woman, discussed their collective plight and frustrations with lack of space and freedom to complete jobs they had previously done in their personal sheds.

The group then moved its attention to setting up the shed, how it should start and what issues had to be considered.

Issues included where to get tools, costs, making sure everyone was happy with what they could complete in the space, vehicle access and, of course, a suitable location.

Many members of the group resolved to visit other “men’s sheds” across Victoria to investigate just how they were going to go about setting this shed up.

The next meeting for the group will be at the Boyd school site on October 25, at 6pm.

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