Shedders gather

By Simon Ruppert

Benalla played host to the Victorian Men’s Shed Association’s (VMSA) AGM on Friday.

More than 138 members of 38 Victorian Men’s Sheds descended on Benalla to attend the event, which included guest speakers and presentations from the VMSA Committee and individual sheds.

VMSA president Lindsay Oates said the AGM was an important event where shedders could hear about the direction of the statewide organisation and its relationship with sheds from other states.

‘‘We had a very exciting speaker today, Stan Alves. He spoke on men’s health and wellbeing and everyone was highly motivated hearing him talk about his football, his personal life and his experiences,’’ Mr Oates said.

‘‘We then heard stories from all the different sheds. We had representatives from 38 sheds, which was great.’’

Men’s Shed Associations across the country are growing with 365 sheds in Victoria alone.

‘‘We are always happy to accept new sheds,’’ Mr Oates said.

‘‘At the moment we are adding three to four sheds a month. And we’re really grateful to the State Government Department of Health and Human Services for helping us achieve that.

‘‘It’s a bipartisan approach and they assist us with grants of $60000 for new sheds or $30000 for refurbishments.’’

As well as offering a social setting and purpose for many men across Australia, Men’s Sheds do a lot of good work for charity.

‘‘We raise money through things like barbecues and other similar events,’’ Mr Oates said.

‘‘And Victorian Men’s Sheds contributes somewhere between $30 to $50 million per year back into the community.’’

More than 11000 men attend Men’s Sheds each day in Victoria, and each shed is unique.

‘‘Sheds across the state vary and are extremely diversified,’’ Mr Oates said.

‘‘Some will be into woodwork, some will be into repairing and making furniture.

‘‘Some build cars and caravans, some are into fishing and some focus on bushwalking.

‘‘Other sheds are just a place where men can go and sit around a table to talk. So we have a rich diversity right across Victoria.’’

VMSA AGMs rotate between metropolitan and regional areas, with Benalla selected this year.

‘‘We love Benalla, we think it’s right to be up here and to promote the sheds here,’’ Mr Oates said.

‘‘A lot of these shedders are staying and having a look around all the art that is going up today. So everyone has really enjoyed being in Benalla.’’