Pooraka Farm Men's Shed

Development of The Men’s Shed 

The Pooraka Farm Men’s Shed is a place where men who are socially isolated through retirement, illness, disability or injury can develop friendships and local networks and learn about what others are doing in the community

It also builds items for community groups and schools in the local area, works on discrete woodworking and metalworking projects, and mends unclaimed stolen bikes for donation to those in need.

PoorakaThe LUCRF Super Community Program helped the Pooraka Farm Men’s Shed to build a shed, purchase equipment and install a dust extractor. It also funded the employment of a part-time coordinator. 

The new suite of implemented programs, activities and support services are successfully helping people connect in the local area. For one project, the so-called ‘Shedders’ worked with disengaged youth at a local high school to build garden beds. In another project, the team helped restore a 100-year-old school bell which was recently used at the school’s centenary celebrations. 

One participant commented that attending the Shed had helped him cope with depression and isolation, while others have described the way it has helped them develop leadership and mentoring skills by assisting others.

Adam’s story

Adam’s first few visits to the Men’s Shed consisted of standing out the front of the shed smoking several cigarettes in a severely anxious state, wanting to go inside but restrained by paralysing fear. Then, for the first six months, he would come quietly into the shed and make wooden toys by himself, not talking to anyone else. He would stand in the background at morning tea and would quietly slip away at the end of each session.

Over time, Adam has gradually been opening up and is becoming more conversational, proudly showing the other Shedders his finished products and interacting with the other men. His transformation has been a quiet revolution.

Joe’s story

Joe is a 20-year-old who, in his words, “grew up on the wrong side of the track”. Raised in a home with strong links to bikie gangs, he was tattooed at a young age and became involved in drugs and prostitution. Joe served an apprenticeship in a bikie panel-beating shop but was sacked just prior to completion. His life was then littered with events that are abnormal to most people. He has spent nearly four months in prison on remand and is on home detention with over 200 charges against him.

Joe began participating in Men’s Shed activities in 2013 with the aim of “going straight” for the sake of his partner and their 2-year-old daughter (with another child on the way). Shed coordinators worked closely with Joe to help him get his life in order. He enrolled in the Foundation Skills course in cabinetmaking in Term 1, 2014. Through continued mentoring at the Men’s Shed, Joe was encouraged to attain his white card and forklift licence. He continued to develop his leadership skills and regularly helped other students with their projects. Towards the end of the term, Joe secured a full-time job. 

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