Caloundra Men’s Shed began a new chapter today with the official opening of its permanent new home. Federal Member for Fisher Andrew Wallace joined members of the Men’s Shed this morning to cut the ribbon on the Federally funded new facility.
Mr Wallace said that construction of the new shed was made possible by a Morrison Government grant of $239,000, promised at the 2019 Federal election.
“For all of us COVID-19 put many plans on hold last year, but it couldn’t stop the members of Caloundra Men’s Shed with the support of the Federal Government. Though it has taken a little longer than expected, today is the culmination of more than four years of hard work from President Philip Ashby and the members of this close knit club.” Mr Wallace said.
The new 475m2 building constructed on Grigor Street in Moffat Beach is allowing the Men’s Shed to increase its membership by 30% and to offer permanent facilities for both wood and metal working, as well as a paint shop. a forge, and social spaces.
“The dangers of social isolation for our physical and mental health have been thrown into stark contrast over the past two years by COVID-19. However, for too many of the more than 28,000 men aged 50 to 80 in the Caloundra District, social isolation is nothing new. From today, this new Caloundra Men’s Shed can now offer companionship, a sense of purpose and a place to belong for dozens more older local residents” he said.
The project was funding with a grant of $239,000 from the Federal Government, along with $2,000 from the Sunshine Coast Council and $10,648 in funds raised by Caloundra Men’s Shed.
“For too long, Caloundra Men’s Shed has faced uncertainty and strict limits to the number of members they could accommodate because of a small shed and the constant threat of short-term leases. Today, all of that is in the past for the Caloundra Men’s Shed, with a permanent home and room to grow.” he said.
Phillip Ashby, President of the Caloundra Men’s Shed said “For years we were virtually squatting in Queen Street because we had no long term land tenure. Now, with Council’s generosity in making land available to us in Grigor street, and the Federal Government’s grant we have a permanent shed and the opportunity to expand the movement here in Caloundra.“
“We have always received a stream of enquiries from people wanting to join us but the old shed never gave us the space to welcome them in. With the new shed we are already beginning to expand our membership and offering more men the chance to get involved. We want to say thank you to Andrew Wallace and the Federal Government for this great opportunity.” Mr Ashby said.
Mr Wallace said that this project had already played a role in supporting the Sunshine Coast through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This project was delayed by an extended planning approval process, but in the end it could not have come at a more valuable time. In the end, this grant of $239,000 from the Federal Government has provided much needed work for local tradies during this Global Pandemic. Now, as we hopefully emerge from lockdowns and strict social distancing, the new shed will help more local men to find a respite from the social isolation that has been more severe than ever through this difficult time.” he said.
Following lengthy negotiations with Sunshine Coast Council the Caloundra Men’s Shed Inc was granted a 3 year License on the Grigor St site which the Men’s Shed are confident will be converted into a 10 year lease.