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Posted by Franz Huber on Nov 29, 2018
Warren's interest in Men's Sheds goes back to the time when he worked in London as a Maintenance Supervisor for some 3 hospitals, where he was also involved in Adult Education at a former technical college; in effect a Men's Shed.  In Australia, his initial efforts started about 2005 when he got in touch with the Australian Men's Shed Association as well as (then) Councillor Margaret Grummitt. While he originally was promised the former Clean Away garage shed, this didn't come together. Ultimately, our Wheelchairs Project obtained the Storage Shed in the same location.  However, a few years later, Margaret Grummitt was able to source a shed out at Labrador.  Warren's submission, together with the Benevolent Society, resulted in the foundation of the first Men's Shed on the Gold Coast. The Council assisted with funds to bring it up to an acceptable standard. It was formally opened in August 2010.  Recently, the Labrador shed had building extensions, doubling it in size, and membership is now in excess of 150.
 
In 2013, Warren assisted the Rotary Club of Coomera River to advise them in establishing a Men's Shed at Oxenford. It started in January 2014 with 38 paid up members. It now has in excess of 70 members and 14 female associate members. This was followed by consulting the Beenleigh Rotary Club in 2016.
 
So, without doubt, Warren is this region's expert in Men's Sheds!  But what do they actually do? Well, you name it: fix bikes, lawnmowers, make cubby houses. You'll see young men working alongside older men, learning new skills. And vice-versa, the old fellows might just learn a couple of things from the young 'uns... You'll see teabags and coffee cups and an area where men can sit and talk. You will probably also see an area where men can learn how to cook, or how to use a computer. But what is really special? Well, most men in our culture don't talk about feelings and emotions, and that goes for men of all age groups and from all walks of life. That also means they usually don't ask for help. At the Men's Shed, there is no pressure.  
 
These days, Men's Sheds have popped up in New Zealand, the UK, Ireland, Europe, the USA and many other countries. Rotary Clubs around the world are involved.  Which brings Warren to the question: "Would Surfers Sunrise consider incorporating a Men's Shed in our Wheelchair Shed?" No doubt, a lot of discussion would be required. Since our Wheelchairs operates under a Trust, the legals alone would present some substantial hurdles to be overcome. But the idea has lots of merits: more (associate) members, the shed could be open 6 days a week, less likelyhood of losing the building lease due to under utilization, being just a few.
 
For more information about the Australian Men's Sheds Organization, click here, for Men's Shed Labrador, click here.