Planning continues for potential Batlow Men’s Shed

Batlow residents Mick Begg, Neil Shaw, Zach Horder, Sam Hughes and Beth David with Adelong Men’s Shed member Ian Elliott on Wednesday.

Batlow residents are continuing to advocate for the establishment of a Batlow Men’s Shed, visiting the Adelong Men’s Shed on Wednesday to gather advice from existing members in the nearby town.

Ian Elliott of the Adelong Shed sat down with Batlow’s Beth David and gave her advice for establishing a Shed, covering everything from applying for grants to registering with the Australian Men’s Shed Association (AMSA).

Also present for the conversation was incoming Batlow Rotary president for 2020-21 Sam Hughes and Batlow locals Mick Begg, Neil Shaw and Zach Horder, who all received a tour of the Shed.

AMSA was established in 2007 as a resource centre for Men’s Sheds around the country. With almost 1000 registered locations and over 50,000 members, AMSA represents and promotes the sheds, and is committed to encouraging and supporting men of all ages to live full, active and independent lives.

The basic premise of each Men’s Shed is to provide a local, informal location where the men (and women) of a community can spend time engaged in manual crafts and form friendships, allowing new opportunities for activity and interaction in people’s lives post-work.

Batlow resident Mr Horder said that the need for a Batlow Men’s Shed arose when the school stopped offering after-hours woodwork classes.

“The school used to do a night class for people who wanted to do woodwork, and after the principal who was running that had moved back to Wagga where he came from, I went back to the school and asked whether they would continue doing this and they said no,” Mr Horder said.

“So I came across trying to start a Men’s Shed in Batlow, where there has never been one before.”

The group recently put out a survey to gauge interest in a potential Men’s Shed and have already received over 200 signatures.

“We’ve put out surveys and we’ve got about 210 people [who have] signed them, and that’s with the coronavirus and with a lot of people staying at home, so that’s not too bad,” Mr Horder said.

“We’ve had a lot of people try and donate stuff to us,” he added.

Mr Horder said that the Batlow Rotary Club has been given a grant to build a shed for the Men’s Shed, but they still need to find land to build it on.

“We’ve got the grants and that, we just don’t have the location yet which is the hard part,” Mr Horder explained.

They are hoping the Shed, when established, will be able to offer a bit of everything to those involved.

“[We want to have] a bit of everything; whatever anyone can bring in that [they want] to teach someone or someone wants to learn, we can direct them to the person who knows how to do it,” Mr Horder said.

The group of Batlow locals said they enjoyed touring the Adelong Men’s Shed on Wednesday.

“It’s interesting seeing the set up. It’s similar to what we want to do,” Mr Horder said.

Men’s Sheds across Australia were recognised by the Government this week, with Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack announcing that Sheds will be given Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status.

“I have been to many Sheds around the Riverina and Central West [and] I am always impressed by the fantastic work they do for our communities,” Mr McCormack said. 

“They are not only great organisations working hard for our cities, towns and villages, they also are places where people go for friendship and support.

“You cannot put a price on that.” 

Mr McCormack said the well-deserved access to DGR status would deliver new fund-raising potential for Men’s and Women’s Sheds. 

Those wishing to get involved with the potential Batlow Men’s Shed can reach out to Zach Horder or Sam Hughes for more information.