THE Maroochy Men’s Shed can finally build a spacious new home thanks to a significant $450,000 Federal Government grant.
Member for Fairfax Ted O’Brien surprised the group with the funding announcement at a Christmas gathering today (Tuesday 4 December) at their cramped Kuluin headquarters.
The huge windfall will enable the Men’s Shed to erect a bigger shed and potentially quadruple its membership.
Mr O’Brien said he was thrilled to secure the much-needed money for the group which had long outgrown its existing besser block location.
“They jokingly refer to their current site as a ‘Banjo Patterson-style humpy’ which gives you an idea of how small and crowded the current shed is,” said Mr O’Brien.
“As someone who wholeheartedly supports the role of Men’s Sheds in promoting mental health, I was absolutely determined to help them achieve their dream of relocating.
“The men did the fundraising and received donations from benefactors to help purchase land opposite their existing site, and I am very pleased to announce $450,000 from the Federal Government to build the shed.
“With this money they can build a new 700sqm premises and host new activities like painting and cooking, spread out their traditional tools and finally have the space to comfortably fit more members.”
The $450,000 funding falls under the Federal Government’s Community Development Grants Programme.
Maroochy Men’s Shed president Graeme Giles said the group would be stuck in their cramped headquarters if not for the Federal grant.
“Until Ted came along and saw the need and did his work getting this grant through, it would have been beyond us,” said Mr Giles.
“We wouldn’t have been able to build a shed or increase our membership.”
Mr Giles said the six-year-old group’s current membership of about 90 could skyrocket to up to 400 members in a few years with the new location.
“There are so many men in this demographic out there who we could be reaching,” said Mr Giles.
About one-third are single men – they have lost their partners through death or divorce and are lonely and living on their own.
“So mental health is our big focus even to the extent that a group of us did a course on recognising the early signs of suicide.”
Mr Giles said Maroochy Men’s Shed could start building its new shed early next year.