After recently writing a blog about the Western Australian Men’s Shed Association, I was truly intrigued about it all. I was so impressed by the concept that I was really keen to go see it for myself. I contacted a former customer who decided to build a shed in Merredin.
After a quick phone call to Bev and Jim, I was on my way to Merredin to see the shed.
The couple warmly greeted me outside the shed and I could tell they were keen to show me everything the committee had achieved since Wheatbelt Steel built the Merredin Shed back in early 2014. As always in these country towns there were many stories of generosity, community spirit and kindness….
When Jim and the committee approached the local council with their idea about the Merredin Men’s Shed, they had the councils support but unfortunately they were not in a position to take on the project financially. This didn’t stop them in their tracks, I honestly don’t think anything could have. The committee received funding from Lotterywest and they also received cash donations from Collgar Wind Farm, Westpac Foundation and, once the Local Shire realized how much value the Merredin Shed would be they managed to pull a considerable contribution together.
The committee wanted to invest the money locally and after being let down by the initial builder they contacted, they came to Wheatbelt Steel. Bev said, “We were blown away by the level of professionalism and integrity at Wheatbelt Steel. The staff were great to talk to and very accommodating.”
There were other factors that swayed them towards Wheatbelt Steel for the Merredin Shed. They wanted a strong shed, a shed that would last 30 years and still look good. They knew Wheatbelt Steels product could live up to that.
When it came to the erection of the Merredin Shed, Bev and Jim couldn’t speak highly enough of the erection team. Jim said, “They were so fast and efficient. One of the local guys drove passed in the morning and it was laid in pieces, flat on the ground. When he drove home that afternoon, there was the shed standing tall. No one could believe it.”
They were so proud when telling me that everyone in the town thinks the Merredin shed is tremendous!
I got the grand tour of the Merredin Men’s Shed, to say I was impressed would be an understatement. The shed is separated the shed into 2 areas. A social area and a workshop. The social area had a kitchenette where they can make a coffee. It had tables and chairs to sit around and have a yarn. It also had couches and a larger flat screen tv that had been donated by the local doctor’s surgery.
The workshop was awesome! Every retiree’s dream. Wood work to one side and metal work on the other. Jim showed me some interesting projects they had on the go. My favourite was the old header that they were restoring back to life. The young farmers these days think they work hard! I’d like to see how they would go on one of these in summer with no aircon!
The purpose of the shed almost made me emotional. As the men of the town grow older, retire or lose their spouses, they will always have this shed. Somewhere to go and have a yarn, work on a project, watch the cricket or have a cuppa.
I have no doubt in my mind that this Merredin Shed will not only add years to the members’ lives, but more importantly it will add life to those years!
Well done Jim, Bev and the committee members. You have done an amazing job.