More than just a men’s shed

Tucked away in level one of the Federation Square car park is a community of volunteers dedicated to lending a hand.

The Melbourne Men’s Shed was founded in 2013 and serves as a “backyard shed” for CBD residents who no longer have one of their own to tinker around in.

Despite its name, the men’s shed has proud members of all genders and ages. Most are retirees, however chairman Andrew Stefanetti told CBD News university students often visited too.

In fact, halfway through the interview, Mr Stefanetti had to take a phone call from a mother wanting to sign up her 15-year-old son as a member.

“Apparently he likes woodwork and cooking, so that’s good,” said Mr Stefanetti.

Members also go for weekly walks around the city, often while they are waiting for their meals they prepared earlier. Upon return, they sit around the table together and share a meal.

Once a month, the group goes for a longer walk around different areas of Melbourne. Last month they walked from Footscray to Docklands.

Members involved in the woodwork program work on projects of all scales, from fixing furniture that other members drop off to the shed, to bigger projects that help larger organisations.

The Melbourne Men’s Shed has previously made wooden toys to donate to the Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation.

Members are currently building wooden Jenga sets for The Big Issue and possum boxes for Wildlife Victoria. The materials are sourced from discarded pallets.

Some members have experience in carpentry while others see it as a hobby. Mr Stefanetti said projects happened when members learned from each other.

When walking through the Melbourne Men’s Shed, you will find a sense of family and belonging. The members are happy to be there and happy to help.

“As long as you make one person smile, you’ve done your job,” Mr Stefanetti said.

For more information on joining the Melbourne Men’s Shed, visit www.melbournemensshed.org

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