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They usually measure pieces of timber for their next project. But on Thursday, Menz Shed members measured cholesterol, blood glucose and body mass index. It was part of a free health check for Men's Health Month - celebrated in June each year. Age Concern visited the Te Awamutu group to provide the free service. Executive officer Brent Nielsen gave health screening tests and health education trainer Margrit Neukomm provided morning tea. The goal was to raise awareness and inform men of the steps they can take to improve their health and well-being.

The Menz Shed is a safe space for men to get together and discuss different issues we're going through.
- Clive Partington, chairman
The services encapsulated what Menz Shed is all about. It was established in 2011 and now boasts 36 members. Chairman Clive Partington says the focus is on men's health. "The Menz Shed is a safe space for men to get together and discuss different issues we're going through." Members are welcome to join in a variety of projects to help schools, community groups and individuals. Mr Partington says the Menz Shed has everything to complete a project from start to finish. It has a timber workshop with a band saw, scroll saws, timber lathe, belt and conical sanders, power tools and hand tools. The metal workshop has a lathe, welder and hand tools. "We can just about make anything." There's also a new lounge area with a kitchen, fireplace and display room - built with the help of Menz Shed members, local businesses, New Zealand Lottery Grants and local funding organisations. The Menz Shed also maintains five local gardens which grow produce to be sold or donated. While most of the men are keen to make things, there are other valuable outcomes such as comradeship, helping with problems, talking about health issues and general good humour. Menz Shed member Stephen Anso (pictured) says men communicate best shoulder-to-shoulder. "Hence the emphasis on shared activities," he says. The shed is now enhancing this by having bi-monthly social or educational activities. Last month 10 members enjoyed a visit to the Car Museum in Frankton where they had lunch together. On Wednesday, July 12, guest speaker Fred Irvine, an educationalist with a wide range of interests, will be talking at the shed. ¦The Menz Shed is recruiting new members. Visit www.ta-menzshed.org or contact teawamutumenzshed@gmail.com for more information. The Menz Shed is located at 132 Raeburne Street, Te Awamutu. Opening hours are 9am to midday Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.