Shed finds a home

BENCHMARK: Lismore Men’s Shed co-ordinator Stuart Gibbons at the official opening of the shed.
BENCHMARK: Lismore Men’s Shed co-ordinator Stuart Gibbons at the official opening of the shed. Cathy Adams

WITHOUT six years of determination and back-breaking labour from volunteers, Lismore's newly-opened Men's Shed would probably never have seen the light of day.

But now, the shed will act as a continuation of men's health services in the region by providing mateship and support for blokes who need an escape, or just someone to talk to.

The shed was officially opened yesterday by way of a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell.

The shed's co-ordinator, Stuart Gibbons, said it was a long and tiring road, but he was glad to finally reach the light at the end of the tunnel.

"It's been six years since the original concept was put forward by the Men and Family Centre as an outreach service to help men," he said.

"We got together with Lismore U3A and the Vietnam vets and got into it in a big way really.

"We had a big premises on the end of Keen St but it fell through. We had many locations, but they all fell through. It's been very hard to find a place.

"So now we're here in the showground in this 100-year-old shed. It was a lot of work to get it looking like it does today. It was covered in heavy duty concrete furniture, which you would hit with a sledgehammer and it wouldn't move it. It all had to go."

Mr Gibbons said a winching system was used to slowly and steadily remove the cumbersome furniture.

Now, the shed is filled with hardware tools and machinery of all shapes and sizes and looks like an appropriate man-cave.

Mr Gibbons said the shed would boast "a non-competitive, supportive atmosphere where you can be yourself and you don't have to be better at everything".

"We've seen some amazing examples of how the Men and Family Centre has turned people's lives around and the Men's Shed is a great way to continue the work," he said.

Despite the shed's name, Mr Gibbons said the Lismore Showground workshop was an inclusive environment, welcoming men and women from all walks of life.

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