There's a group of men who get together once a week just to chat and listen … about "stuff".
It's the brainchild of former Men's Shed president, John McGowan. John knows the value of listening.
"It's a timely thing," says John.
He's choosing his windmills carefully these days, leaving the really big ones for someone else to tilt at. "I can't fix the health system."
So he asks himself, "What can I do?"
He started the Men's Shed Welfare Group and is the group facilitator.
There are two criteria: male, and a Men's Shed member. It's for men who need to talk to someone about anything and don't have access to a non-judgmental ear.
"The premise of the group is to talk and listen, but also to hear. It's not a place to be smart and it's not a place to offer advice. In fact, it's not so much a healing place as a hearing place.
"We do it on a Wednesday, when there's no one there; from 10 till 12. We'll have a cup of tea and I will invent one question per time [session]."
The last topic was 'humiliation'. Not that the topic is strictly stuck to.
"I'm humbled by the stories: the old 'walk a mile in my shoes' thing."
John says being able to do this makes him feel honoured but, more often, humbled. It's good to be able to help. He says we're a helping town, naturally.
"Look at Whanganui: the place runs on volunteers. We have a lot of people who don't have much, but what they can give is their time.
"I wanted to do something and this kind of fell into my lap. It's low key, low pressure and minimally organised."
Does this suit you? Join the Men's Shed and see John. If you already belong to the Men's Shed, you'll know John.
"The purpose of the Shed is to look after ourselves, and this is an aspect of that."