By Sarah Schwager
A SPACE designed to allow men to share skills, socialise and receive support will now benefit all Casey residents in need.
The Cranbourne Community Workshop, formerly known as the Men’s Shed, has been two years in the making and was set up by Casey Council, Cranbourne Rotary Club and Cranbourne Community House.
It was officially opened at the Cranbourne Community House last week.
The proposal for the shed was originally put forward to provide a place for Casey men aged 15 and above to reconnect with society but will now run as space for all – male, female, old and young.
Cranbourne Community House coordinator Margaret O’Callaghan said the idea for the program came about two years ago when the community house noticed a number of changes, including the relocation of older adults to Cranbourne who were leaving their big gardens and sheds behind.
Mrs O’Callaghan said this left some men with time on their hands and they missed their sheds.
She said they also experienced more men joining the house’s art and hebal stone sculpture programs and had one man in its patchwork class.
Mrs O’Callaghan said while there was much verbal support from all levels of government, the house was unable to obtain funding and so the workshop was formed through the partnership.
“We had a plan in our mind but we needed an architect, a builder and someone with experience and knowledge who could advise us from a council perspective.”
She said the workshop was an extension of the community house that would enhance the delivery of existing and new programs.
“This is a project and a partnership that truly reflects the adage ‘with the community, for the community, by the community’,” she said.
The workshop includes a space for people to do carpentry, metalwork, welding and other activities normally carried out in a shed, as well as providing a counselling and meeting area.
The program also aims to promote men’s health issues, mentoring and skill-sharing.
The Department of Human Services reported depression among males in the City of Casey at 5 per 1000, higher than the state average of 4 per 1000.
The rate of suicide in Casey was significantly higher with males than females – between 3 and 3.4 per 1000 for males and only 0.97 per 1000 for females.
Cranbourne Rotary Club president Malcolm Wells said the workshop was a fantastic program and was pleased to be part of the partnership to get it up and running.
He said the workshop would give residents the ability to meet, socialise, use tools and learn how to make things.
Also attending the opening were Holt MP Anthony Byrne, City of Casey chief executive Mike Tyler, mayor Kevin Bradford, representatives from Cranbourne Inner Wheel, the Department of Human Services, Department of Victorian Communities, sponsors, volunteers, business partners, and community and service organisations.
By Sarah Schwager