Van theft cruel blow for men's service
By Sonia Caeiro email@example.com SERVICES for men and families were dealt a harsh blow over the weekend when the Mobile Men's Shed was stolen from its Lismore base.
On Monday morning, staff and volunteers arrived to find a stolen Ford station wagon parked in place of the centre's outreach van.
The missing mobile shed, donated to the service four years ago, is a white 1974 Dodge ex-ambulance with a large sign down the side.
Co-ordinator Bill Taylor is mystified. "We are shocked," he said. "The shed is an intrinsic part of our services. Men find it more difficult than women to ask for help. The mobile shed is a great way of bringing the information and support to them."
The mobile shed covers a large territory. "We have a great group of people visiting us in Kyogle. They're usually sitting there waiting when we pull up," Mr Taylor said. "In Casino we have many rural women seeking information and resources for the men in their lives. In Evans Head recently I met a young woman seeking information after her flatmate committed suicide and her boyfriend wasn't coping.
"We're particularly disappointed our regular location visits and special events in the lead-up to Christmas will not go ahead now."
Centre manager Stuart Anderson said there had been no suspicious activity, nor were they aware of any grudges borne against the centre or its mobile shed activities.
"It's a real surprise to us that someone would pinch something so visible, and also because it is such a valuable community service," he said.
Equipment inside the Mobile Men's Shed is valued between $5000 and $10,000. The vehicle itself is uninsured.
The Men and Family Centre is appealing to help to obtain a replacement vehicle so the mobile shed can continue its much-needed support of men and their families.