Men’s Shed gets council green light

Daryna ZadvirnaAlbany Advertiser
Denmark Men's Shed vice-president Brian Humphries and president John O'Donnell.
Camera IconDenmark Men's Shed vice-president Brian Humphries and president John O'Donnell. Credit: Daryna Zadvirna

Denmark Men’s Shed members have inched closer to finally building their first official shed, after their lease at the Heritage Railway Precinct was approved by the Shire of Denmark council on Tuesday.

The club formed about five years ago and initially used a small shed provided by a retired carpenter.

But after he died, the club moved to the Lions Den at the river mouth heritage precinct, and more recently, the youth centre.

DMS president John O’Donnell said while the members had been appreciative of the space provided, it was less than ideal for activities and made it difficult to expand their membership.

“There have been many projects undertaken that have resulted in a wide range of services and items being made for the benefit of community groups and individuals but these are mostly undertaken in the shed of one of our members,” he said.

“We have found that it is difficult to grow membership when there is no permanent shed.

“The common response by men approached to join has been ‘When you have a shed, please come and see me again, I would very much like to learn how to use tools and make things’ — usually said by younger men who lack skills to repair or build things at home.”

In 2017, the council established a heritage precinct building proposal working group, with the purpose of developing a “Super Shed” for community groups, such as the DMS, who wished to occupy and carry on their activities at the heritage precinct.

But members agreed on a different model of occupation and co-location.

DMC’s plan for a $700,000 facility would provide a section for wood working machinery and a benchwork, assembly and repair section, as well as a meeting area.

Mr O’Donnell said there were arrangements for other groups to use the shed, such as the Spirit of Play Community School for their manual art lessons.

In the past four years, Denmark Men’s Shed members have worked to raise the funds required for them to build their shed, which has included donations of $195,000 from the Don Branbenburg Foundation and $70,000 from the Jack Family Charitable Trust.

The club is awaiting the outcome of its Lotterywest application for $360,000, which should be announced this month.

Mr O’Donnell was delighted with the council’s approval and said if all went as planned, members would be in their new shed by Christmas.

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