The Waroona Community Men’s Shed celebrates being awarded Waroona Shire Active Citizenship Award for Groups

Headshot of Sean Van Der Wielen
Sean Van Der WielenHarvey-Waroona Reporter
The Waroona Men's Shed won the Shire of Waroona's Community Group of the Year Award.
Camera IconThe Waroona Men's Shed won the Shire of Waroona's Community Group of the Year Award. Credit: Sean Van Der Wielen/Harvey-Waroona Reporter

It might be called a “Men’s Shed”, but it is not just for old blokes.

That is the message the Waroona Community Men’s Shed wants to get across after it was the recipient of this year’s Shire of Waroona Active Citizenship Award for Groups.

The award is the result of work by the shed’s 35 members to give back to the community whenever they can.

President George Blakey described the award as a “great honour”.

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“I think it’s fantastic that the people involved with that recognise what they guys in the shed do, to help the community whenever we can,” he said.

Although the group received the accolade in January, it has nearly a decade of history in the town.

The shed was officially incorporated in late 2013 with support from the Waroona Agricultural Society after it recognised the need for such an organisation.

A steering committee then worked for more than 18 months to get the shed up and running, with about 23 members present at the official opening in March 2015.

Working originally out of the Marchetti Shed at the north-eastern end of Waroona Oval, the group moved into a purpose-built facility at the end of 2019 after securing funding from the Federal, State and local governments, the Alcoa Waroona Sustainability Fund, the Waroona Lions Club, the Waroona Agricultural Society and their own funds.

It is clear the shed, with its large floorspace, separate metalwork room, dust extraction systems, array of equipment and medical room is the envy of other Men’s Sheds.

“People come in and as soon as they walk into our shed, the first thing they say is ‘wow’,” Mr Blakey said.

It is helping the members put their skills to use, with vice president Terry Wilson noting his surprise when he found one of the member’s creations.

“I had never seen him (Robert Hawkins) touch anything metal and I walked into the metal shop one day and he’s made this emu out of chains and all sorts of stuff, and I thought ‘where did you get that idea from?’,” he said.

Another member, who has a disability, made a table so good with his support worker that it is in the manager’s office of the man’s NDIS provider.

However, it is not just about the men. The group has been trying to grow its female membership from the four current members, hoping to make the shed a welcoming place for the entire community.

“You look at what they (the female members) bring, it is just a different dimension,” Mr Wilson said.

As well as making things in the shed, members help out fellow Waroona residents with various house issues.

“We do get quite a few pensioners ring up and their husband has passed away, they can’t open the garage door, that sort of stuff, so we try and help that way as well,” he said.

But perhaps most importantly, Mr Blakey believes the shed has benefits to the members’ health and wellbeing.

“I know we are all getting older and deteriorating, but I think you go home feeling better than when you arrived,” he said.

The Waroona Men’s Shed operates on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 8.30am to 12pm from its Parnell Street base.

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