Hunter Hero: Waratah-Mayfield Multicultural Men’s Shed more than just a place to work

The projects constructed at Waratah-Mayfield Men’s Shed are exemplary, but it’s the role the facility plays in helping men’s mental health that matters most.

David Inglis, supervisor of the past three years, says the men who frequented the shed often open up and talk about their lives in ways they could never do at home.

He believes the social interaction, physical tasks and mental requirements of the jobs at hand, all help stimulate better well-being.

“A lot of the guys don’t talk to their wives, but can sit around here and talk,” Mr Inglis said. “They’ll talk their problems out, where they won’t do it at home – they keep it in.

“But once they get here, or in any shed – all sheds are the same, there’s generally someone that knows that subject or something about that subject – they’ll sit down and talk to each other.”

Although it’s not just those who hook into making toys, tables and more who utilise the shed, with some simply just popping in for a cup of coffee and a yarn.

The shed also recently started a computer workshop, where old computer bits and pieces are restored for further use.

Often approached by groups to construct community-focused projects, the shed builds a variety of products. Picnic benches for parks, even a wheelchair ramp for a family’s house.

One year, the shed was involved in a local school program which helped students who were missing a male figure in their lives. The shed’s members worked with the students to build billy karts for the school.

“Nine times out of 10 all we charge for is material,” Mr Inglis said. “All we ask for is a donation to the shed, we’ve still go to replace saw blades or anything that gets broken. Money just doesn’t flow into here, we’ve got to get it from somewhere.”

That money is often raised through market days or fundraising. Other times, Mr Inglis will call upon local businesses for donations. From supermarkets to hardward stores, he says they’re all pretty generous.

The shed’s Mother’s Day Markets are on Saturday, April 28 from 8am to 1pm.

It’s an opportunity for the community to see the men’s work, as well as the shed to raise some funds and continue their well-being focus.
Mr Inglis, 71, says while he might often the one to have a chat with one of the men in need, he gets as much from the shed as he gives.

“I love the shed,” he said. “I love working for the shed, I love the guys and I’ve helped a lot of the guys out. But it’s not just me, there’s plenty of other blokes who’ll help.”

To make a donation to the shed – material, financial or in-kind – call 4960 8248.

Photo: Newcastle Herald

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Newcastle Herald