LACK of appropriate facilities has meant Heathcote is without a men’s shed.
After three attempts in the past eight years, Heathcote Community House management has all but given up on establishing a program through the Men’s Shed Association.
While a program was launched in 2016 using the Community House workshop, management didn’t apply for funding in 2017 as the workshop space was too small to expand the program.
Recently, comments on social media reignited the Men’s Shed debate; something which Heathcote Community House Coordinator Vicki Forde said had disheartened Community House volunteers and staff.
“There’s been some misinformation circulating in the community regarding the Community House and its workshop facility and equipment,” she said.
“To say that it is very disappointing and disheartening for the many who work extremely hard for our community and surrounding districts and to experience such misrepresentation is an understatement.
“The Community House has not run, nor has it been registered to run a Men’s Shed program for more than two years now.”
Ms Forde said that while there was no official program, the existing workshop was being utilised by the community when possible.
And while there was community interest in the program, space issues meant attempts at establishing a program through the Men’s Shed Association was near impossible.
“The committee of management made a decision more than two years ago that the workshop would continue to be used for woodwork, art and gardening activities, programs and workshops only when appropriately qualified staff were available,” she said.
“For many years Ross Jeavons together with Jean Koch and other members of our Heathcote and district community supervised a very successful woodwork program that brought together men, women and children at different times.
“Machinery, hand and power tools, pottery wheels, kilns and more have been purchased through grants and sponsorship and have also been given as donations to the Community House.
“All donations or purchases have always been for the community to use via the many different programs that the Community House has facilitated.”
Community House management agreed a Men’s Shed program did not suit the current premises due to occupational health and safety issues as well as the building not being large enough.
“The community would be much better off with a stand alone facility, purpose-built for what was needed by participants of such a program,” she said.
“And Community House would be happy to assist in facilitating such a program if ever an opportunity presented itself in a more suitable location as a sustainable and viable proposition.”
Men’s Shed grants are currently available and the community house is again exploring options and availabilities closely.
“And should anything come of it, we’ll be sure to shout it from the rooftops at the appropriate time,” she said.