Shed a powerful tool in boosting men's health

Published 4:00pm 8 December 2023

Shed a powerful tool in boosting men's health
Words by Ashleigh Howarth

Every man needs his own shed, and luckily for the blokes of Dayboro there is a big one that’s decked out with all the tools and equipment they could ever wish for.

Three days a week the work benches are piled high with materials and the sound of hammers, chisels, saws, and welders ringing out of the building as members of the Dayboro Men’s Shed get stuck into their projects.

Having operated in the community for more than 11 years, the shed provides an inclusive space where men of all ages can learn new skills, expand their social connections, and regain a sense of purpose in their life – all of which helps boost their physical and mental health.

Dayboro Men’s Shed president Greg Henderson says he’s thrilled to see an increase in membership, with more blokes signing up to become ‘shedders’.

“Our membership was pretty stable for a while, but following some major community events in town we have increased our numbers and had more people join,” Greg says.

“We had a great response from an open day we held, and we had lots of people come and chat to us at the hugely successful Dayboro Day. 

“We now have more than 65 members, many of whom are locals to Dayboro, but we also have members who are from other parts of Moreton Bay like Kallangur and even Bribie Island.”

The Dayboro Men’s Shed is well known across the region for its generosity, with members offering their services to help local schools, businesses, community groups and organisations with various projects.

Work they have undertaken includes making tiny bee hotels for the children at the Dayboro Community Kindergarten, wooden trophies and plaques for events such as Dayboro Day and the National Gem and Mineral Show, making oversized novelty games for community events and festivals (including the Moreton Bay Food and Wine Festival), as well as restoring people’s prized possessions.

“We quite often get people drop in and ask if we can help them fix something or restore family heirlooms,” Greg explains.

“A lot of people are really nice and pay us back by giving a donation to the shed, but honestly, we just love helping out the community where we can.”

The Dayboro Men’s Shed is open to men of all ages including retirees, semi-retirees and younger men who are looking to try something new and expand their friendship circle.

Greg says members can “work on whatever they like” during their time at the shed, and they don’t need to have any experience working on the tools as they can learn as they go.

“We have guys who come from all walks of life and have different skills, so if you want to work on something for yourself or help make or repair something for someone in the community, you will get lots of help and advice,” Greg says.

“We have all the equipment you need to make just about anything.

“We have guys who make everything from dining tables to homewares, wooden toys for their grandkids and even trays for chickens to lay their eggs in.

“If you have never done any woodwork or metal work before, that’s ok too because we will show you how to work the machines. If you just want to come along and have a cuppa and talk, that’s no problem either.

“I like to think we have a decent group of guys here who will make you feel welcome. We are all friends outside the shed, and even get together to play a round of golf regularly.”

To help ensure all members stay fit and healthy, both mentally and physically, the Men’s Shed also has what they call a Mobility Action Plan.

Every Monday morning members get together and do some routine exercises that help to maintain and improve strength and ability.

Members use weights (up to 6kg) to maintain strength and floor mats and a balance beam to help balance and agility.

This is run by the club’s health and wellness officer, who used to work as a PE teacher.

The Dayboro Men’s Shed is at 2 Don Kerr Memorial Drive, Dayboro.

To see more photos, click through the gallery below. 

Three decades of tinkering 

The very first Men’s Shed opened at Goolwa in South Australia in February 1993.

The aim of a Men’s Shed is to provide a space where men can meet and work on meaningful projects at their own pace, in their own time and in the company of other men.

Unlike women, most men are reluctant to talk about their emotions and that means they usually don’t ask for help. Because of this, many men drink more alcohol, are overweight, take more risks and suffer from isolation, loneliness, and depression.

Relationship breakdowns, retrenchment or early retirement from a job, loss of children following a divorce, and physical or mental illness are just some of the problems that men may find difficult to deal with on their own.

A Men’s Shed is also a place to receive vital health information and resources men may not usually access or be reluctant to access.

Since the first shed was formed 30 years ago, there are now more than 1200 Men’s Sheds across Australia – that’s more Men’s Sheds than McDonald’s restaurants!

Today, the Australian Men’s Shed Association (ASMA) is the national service provider (founded in 2007) and is recognised as one of Australia’s largest male-based community development organisations.

Globally, more than 2500 Men’s Sheds operate in 12 countries, including the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, Canada, America, Kenya, and South Africa.

To find out more information, visit the Australian Men's Shed Association website

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