The inaugural meeting for the Batlow Men’s Shed has been hailed as a great success.
The meeting, which took place at the former cannery office block site on Saturday, saw 34 paying members sign up – a number that is estimated to soon rise to 40.
Rotary Club President, Sam Hughes, said the meeting was ‘really good’, and that even if membership numbers remain the same, he will still be very happy with the level of enthusiasm displayed by the community.
The meeting elected three of its members to form a committee, as well as nominating its first president Gene Cowin – with a vice president position also being considered.
Mr Hughes remarked that the Men’s Shed has been a great opportunity for residents to get out and meet each other, with people from all across the town said to be getting involved
“Half of the people haven’t met before … so quite a spread of the town and the meeting pulled out a lot of people who wouldn’t have, or don’t meet each other because they all are doing their own thing,” he said.
The Men’s Shed project seeks to establish an inclusive space for both men and women – a place where people have access to materials and tools for the benefit of the wider Batlow community.
The shed is also intended to provide a place where men can be themselves.
Now with an elected membership and committee team, the project will commence at the cannery site office building with the backing of the Batlow Rotary Club.
Mr Hughes, who is the Rotary president, said that there is still a lot of work to do to get the shed up and running, but Rotary hopes that eventually the club can operate independently and be entirely driven by its own membership.
“There’s a lot of work to do because we are starting from absolutely zero, we’re building it literally from the ground up,” he said.
“Our intention is to build a shed, build a community and have a Men’s Shed club, and then it’s really up to them [the members] after that.”
A member of Rotary will seek to attend most Men’s Shed meetings. The club and the shed aim to maintain strong channels of communication, which will allow the Men’s Shed to thrive in years to come.
Membership for the club in Batlow is $30, with this figure said to be around the price for most Men’s Sheds, and something that will show that people are serious about the project’s long-term ambitions.
The membership group will now draft a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ between themselves and Batlow Rotary, something that will outline the responsibilities of the project and provide a written base for the future.
Members can still join, with forms still available at the post office, library and Bakery. Otherwise they can contact the Batlow Rotary Club directly.