Early in March 2014, a few residents of Rupanyup in Victoria Australia had been quietly discussing what was felt were changes to a few of the established community service organisations that had traditionally been the facilitators of a range of activities, generally related to community health and welfare.
It was thought that the grassroots community may suffer a loss of some of their activities and it was felt that perhaps the push to reengage with providers must come from the general public.
It was felt at that meeting that maybe some of the broader services may be lost to the smaller towns like Rupanyup and only provided at larger centres such as Horsham and Stawell and in doing so the old issue of travel, distance and isolation may creep in.
In particular were activities for unemployed and retired men or those with some form of disability and even support for their carers and partners..
Arising out of those discussions, it was decided to look at what was being done in other similar geographic areas around Australia by community groups to redress the balance and to identify what might be done for men in and around Rupanyup..
A recent study on Men’s Sheds in Australia found that Community men’s sheds come in all shapes and sizes, with different governance, management, operational and finance structures, with different aims and objectives and numbers of participants.
It is estimated that there are approximately 1000 sheds operating or being planned in Australia at the present time.
From the first meeting at Rupanyup, the members formed a small community action group to gather the information as to what was locally available with men’s sheds, what services may be missing at them, and how to bring about some change from being simply passive community involvement, to being proactive and engaging with a host of providers of other different services.
The group considered where the most opportunities could be focussed to Rupanyup and then possibly engage and share with other regional areas well..
The Australian Men’s Shed Association and another men’s organisation, Mensheds Australia provide a wealth of information on the different aspects of what is needed to support the creation of a Men’s Shed and this was helpful..
These two organisations offer up lots of information relevant to Men’s Health Programs at Sheds around Australia and so armed with this and other information, at a further meeting, the group took a look at the mix of activities available for Rupanyup men, both in and out of a shed was considered.
Rupanyup has been very lucky due to the work of the Rupanyup & District Consultative Committee to secure funding for the construction of a Men’s Shed which is to be located next to the Memorial Park on the East end of the Woods Brothers Museum in Rupanyup.
Whilst they are underway with the project, this shed is expected to take some time to be completed and operational.
In the meantime, the Rupanyup Men’s Shed Association group has been formed and is focussing clearly of building many of the non-shed activities and health related programs that can foster involvement, address the men’s needs and promote events to be held in local venues to help support the physical Men’s Shed it when it can be fully up and running.
For more information about the Rupanyup Men’s Shed Association and it activities, you can call David Craker on 0353105931 – email@example.com
Linda Nemeth on 035385 5442