Belconnen Community Men's Shed
Thank you, Madam Speaker. Whilst many workers look forward to retirement, research shows that many older Australians who leave the workforce experience significant loneliness as a consequence of leaving behind established social connections and familiar tasks. This social isolation, mixed with the financial limitations that often accompany living on a fixed income, can result in a decline in both physical and emotional wellbeing, increasing the risk of anxiety and depression.
I rise today, Madam Speaker, to publicly honour and praise the Belconnen Community Men’s Shed and the huge role it plays in making sure that men in its suburb of Page and from other parts of Belconnen have access to essential social connections and meaningful activities. The shed bills itself and its exciting array of power tools as the ‘excuse’ men need to get out of the house and talk with one another.
These tools include wood and metal lathes, a circular saw, welding equipment, and a sheet-metal guillotine and folder, as well as handheld tools for leatherwork and projects involving plastics. Small-hobby electronics projects are also catered for, and Tuesday afternoons are reserved for cards and other games. This is all available in a shed that is fully insulated and has heating, cooling and, of course, a kitchen to allow for the preparation of morning tea. (Rule number 1 at the Belconnen Community Men’s Shed is to always stop for morning tea!)
Collectively, these ‘excuses’ appear to be accomplishing their purpose, Madam Speaker. I have very much enjoyed visiting the shed and seeing the hum of activity and the warm friendship that takes place there. This well-run Men’s Shed provides a safe and busy environment where men can feel good about themselves, be productive, contribute to their community, forge new social connections, and maintain active bodies and minds. I absolutely love it!
I thank Gordon Cooper, president of the Belconnen Community Men’s Shed, and the rest of his team for their fantastic leadership. But there are so many others who deserve thanks too. This includes the Men’s Shed members themselves, and the good work they perform in warmly welcoming new members and visitors and sharing their knowledge and skills. I also thank Mosaic Baptist Church, which facilitated the building of the shed. Forty-eight generous Canberra businesses and community organisations sponsor the Belconnen Community Men’s Shed, donating labour, equipment and money. I express my sincere thanks to each one of them. This is truly a community endeavour, one that clearly demonstrates how much good can be done when good people come together with a determination to make a difference.
Successful small business owners and members of local clubs are so often the backbone that supports essential community efforts like the Men’s Shed.
I enthusiastically wish the Belconnen Community Men’s Shed, its members and its sponsors the very best for 2020 and beyond. Thank you for making life better for so many men in Canberra. Thank you.