'Centre for blokes' set to open

By Vomle Springford

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MALE DOMAIN: Glyn Saunders remakes a lost kindergarten puzzle piece at the Masterton Henley Men's Shed, which the Greytown Men's Shed group plans to emulate. PHOTO/APN
MALE DOMAIN: Glyn Saunders remakes a lost kindergarten puzzle piece at the Masterton Henley Men's Shed, which the Greytown Men's Shed group plans to emulate. PHOTO/APN

Greytown is on track to get a "Men's Shed".

A voluntary group hopes the South Wairarapa District Council will allow them to use the storage shed and vacant land behind the old Borough chambers on Main St.

Men's Sheds can help men avoid social isolation, said Greytown community board member Shane Atkinson.

They provided a social gathering point where men carry out personal and community projects, often with wood and metal.

"It's a social centre for blokes, where they can do blokey stuff," said Mr Atkinson.

It doesn't include nude calendars though, that's a bit passe, he said.

The sheds often provide services to local communities such as toy-making for fundraisers, tool sharpening and contribution to community projects.

Mr Atkinson said he anticipated the new shed may create replicas of historical pieces for Cobblestones Museum.

The group has already had a request from the local creche to maintain their wooden toy collection.

Other groups will also be able to use the shed, said Mr Atkinson.

The Henley Men's Shed in Masterton has been running since 2009 and has more than 120 members.

The Greytown group hopes to attract a similar number, Mr Atkinson said.

Workbenches, materials, tools and furniture have already been donated or earmarked for the group.

There are also plans to involve the Men's Shed with small tasks on the Stella Bull garden.

Mr Atkinson said the idea was planted about two and a half years ago when he first heard about a Men's Shed in Rotorua.

"It was a thing that was in the back of my mind."

Peter McNeur and John Bush from Wairarapa REAP helped build on the idea, said Mr Atkinson.

"We put out flyers to see if there was a nucleus of a member base and there was."

He hopes that the shed will be up and running within the next year.

"I have just signed myself up as a member."

The group's next step is to form a corporate society so it will be able to sign a license to take over the council's storage shed and land.

The Greytown Men's Shed would pay a peppercorn rental to SWDC.

Men's Sheds are dotted all around the New Zealand and were first started in Australia.

"At one stage, they were opening one a week in Australia," said Mr Atkinson.

Research shows the sheds can reduce social isolation and improve the well-being of the members.

- WAIRARAPA TIMES-AGE

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