Every bloke needs a shed. It’s an Australian right. A shed is a man’s refuge from the domestic grind of life and a place he can do blokey things with his tools and his mates. According to Mark Thomson in his book ‘Blokes and Sheds’, “An Aussie man’s pride can be measured by his shed—its size, what he stores in it and what he can fix in it”. Sheds vary in size, shape and construction, but regardless of how the shed looks, it gives a man a sense of purpose. It is traditionally seen as a strongly male domain, where a man can feel a sense of masculine pride in making things, fixing things or simply spending some alone time playing with his tools. It’s a place he can invite his mates over to share the cricket or the footy.
Studies have shown that having access to a shed is a great asset to improving men’s health and well being. Communal sheds are popping up all over the country through an incentive set up by Men’s Sheds Australia to establish shared use of a communal shed for men who have otherwise lost access to their own backyard shed.
A shed can be a great outlet for loneliness and depression. A community shed has the added benefits of creating a sense of belonging and comradeship, a sharing of a common interest that encourages social interaction. Plus there’s the satisfaction of fixing and building things.
Point Cook Village Workshop
This thinking has also been extended into retirement communities. At the retirement village at Point Cook Village they have established a communal shed for the residents use. Known as the Village Workshop, membership is however open to both men and women, a shift from the traditional philosophy that the shed is an exclusively male domain.
The residents need to complete a formal induction and training session to comply with health and safety regulations before they can start using the shed. There are currently 15 members inducted of which 3 are women.
The workshop is fully equipped. Some residents have donated their own tools to the workshop and Point Cook Village has also purchased some additional metalwork and woodwork equipment and it’s fully equipped with a first aid kit and emergency eye bath.
Use is restricted to residents of the village and it’s a great way to meet and socialise with other residents and at the same time work on personal or community projects in the warmth of creativity and companionship. Amongst other things, the workshop has so far built racks to house the exercise equipment for the onsite communal pool and general purpose shelving.
The workshop is open from 9 to 5 weekdays. There is no weekend use due to sound restrictions.