Ballina Community Mens Shed members move their gear into a perfect space at Smith Drive.
Ballina Community Mens Shed members move their gear into a perfect space at Smith Drive. Yvonne Gardiner

New workshop space to build Shedders' friendships

AFTER a long search, Ballina Community Men's Shed has found a suitable home that will meet the group's needs.

Long-term plans for a permanent facility, however, are ongoing.

Team leader Graham Eggins said the shedders had been looking for suitable workshop space since moving out of the Southern Cross School last October.

Early this month they secured a two-year lease and moved into a 20m x 9m shed at 38B Smith Dr, Ballina.

"This Smith Dr workshop will improve public access, comfort and efficiency for our operations and allow more varied activities," Graham said.

"It means we'll have a clean, fresh place to work.

"All this will attract and grow new membership while the new facility is planned and constructed.

"We'll be developing a woodwork workshop.

"Some of the things we make are coffee tables, breadboards, bird boxes, dog kennels and bookcases.

"We also make things to order. We are non-profit so everything goes back to the Men's Shed."

The Ballina Community Men's Shed has been established since January 2010.

Current membership is about 45 and the aim is to recruit many new members during the next 18 months.

Graham enjoys the Men's Shed activities because of the camaraderie.

"People do worthwhile projects together. They're able to share their skills with others," he said.

"We also do social outings together. There's strong friendships in the group

"Men's Shed is about health. Members have to be safe when they come here.

"Whatever you do, it needs to be done properly, to the standards."

Plans for a new purpose-built facility on crown land managed by Ballina Jockey Club at Ballina Racecourse are under way.

"The group has been seeking for five years for an adequate facility where it can grow and diversify further into metalwork, basic mechanical, painting, electronics and computers, model building and space for a lounge, office, meeting room, etc," Graham said.

"The design could be built in stages.

"If we had the money, we could conceivably start this time next year.

"In December, the State Government announced that the Ballina Community Men's Shed had won a capital grant of $66,000 through the Community Builders Partnership Grant fund.

"Application is being made to various funding bodies - government, private foundations, corporate bodies and philanthropic groups."

Ballina Men's Shed members meet Monday and Wednesday from 8am-12pm.

For more information, phone Graham on 0416 004 013.

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