TOYMAKERS: Buderim Men’s Shed members hold up their Christmas creations.
TOYMAKERS: Buderim Men’s Shed members hold up their Christmas creations.

Goodwill from the Buderim Men’s Shed

SANTA'S Workshop at Buderim Men's Shed has been working overtime this year and on Saturday, December 5, they will bring Christmas to local needy children when they give more than 1000 wooden toys, like trains, planes helicopters and semi-trailers, to local charities.

"We usually have six or eight toymakers and they work on an assembly line," vice president Barry Cheales told Seniors.

"Most of the materials come from kitchen renovation companies who recycle their off cuts.

"Among the charities we're helping are SunnyKids and Care Outreach. We've been doing it for three or four years now and it's a happy day for everyone."

Like the other 260 members of the Men's Shed, Barry is hoping this wonderful day of warmth and goodwill will not be the last for the group.

"We're living on the edge of a cliff," he said. "We don't own the building here at 53 Mill Rd. We have a handshake arrangement with the owners, Dr Bill Glasson and his wife, Professor Clare Jackson, and they have been wonderful mentors. We are very grateful for their permission to use the premises.

"We know, however, that if an investor came along with the money to buy the building, which is a former eye hospital, then we would be out with five minutes' notice.

"We have a block of land at Kuluin but we need $1 million to build a new shed and we haven't got it."

The demise of the Men's Shed would be a blow for the district. Many of the members are retired and, according to Barry, "come from all walks of life".

"There are 1100 Sheds in Australia and we are the biggest.

"Including the toymakers, we have 22 different activities, including learning how to use computers, woodworking, wood turning, gardening, book groups, libraries and leatherwork.

"We started just over four years ago and it was clear a lot of people didn't know what 'all these men' were doing. It was even said we were a respite centre.

"We decided we needed to open our doors and invite people in. That's how the annual Opening Day came about. It gives us a chance to show what we do and to sell our wares."

How are the members trying to raise the $1 million to build a new shed at Kuluin?

"We have a fundraising committee and it's very active. We had an arrangement with the previous state government but that fell through. We are, however, maintaining links with our politicians for assistance.

"We are also associated with a research study by the University of the Sunshine Coast on how Men's Sheds impact on men's health.

"We are hopeful the outcome will help to put dollar figures on how much Men's Sheds save (in terms of) the cost of health."

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