Out the back of Kilmore Racing Club, there’s a long, gravel track. It winds back to former horse stables, which is the new home of Kilmore and District Men’s Shed. If happiness could be manufactured, then this would be its headquarters.
The shed is open three days a week and gives local men the opportunity to practice and develop their metal, woodworking and gardening skills, plus make new friends and connections.
Clubrooms are still in construction but a warm welcome awaits in the big shed. Most men don’t look up, but some do. They are too busy working on projects. From metal to wood, the space is abuzz. President Neil Kelton is only too happy to share why.
“Lives are saved here,” he says. “Some men come here when things are really bad. Their partner may have died, or maybe they’re struggling with depression. Men’s Shed gives them a project, a purpose. It brings them back from the brink.”
The shed, which is a not for profit community organisation receives funding through grants. There is a strong focus on mental health and community and men are encouraged to make or build ‘whatever they want’. The club and smoko room are currently being built.
Until it’s finished, up to 45 men will squeeze into a small portable for their break; to enjoy a cuppa and a yarn.
With such a great atmosphere, it’s easy to see why the Shed’s membership is growing; 93 to be exact.
Secretary Ron Hamilton says their biggest problem is site restrictions – only a certain number of people can be here at a time.
“But we’re making it work”, he says.
Ultimately Men’s Shed is about getting local men together to make new things, have a laugh and a yarn. Neil leans forward and with a knowing wink he says, “We’re a bit raucous, but I assure you, there’s no swearing here”