Caloundra Men’s Shed took a major step forward today as construction got underway on its permanent and larger new home. Federal Member for Fisher Andrew Wallace joined members of the Men’s Shed this morning to turn the first sod on construction of the Federally funded new facility.
Mr Wallace said that construction of the new shed is being made possible by a Morrison Government grant of $239,000, promised at the 2019 Federal election.
“During this COVID crisis we have all learnt a lot about social isolation, but sadly for some older people in our community it is a part of their every day experience. There are more than 28,000 men aged between 50 and 80 years in the Caloundra District and for those who are living with social isolation Caloundra Men’s Shed offers friendship, a sense of purpose and a place for them to belong and contribute. Even before COVID-19, members told me that without the companionship and purpose the Shed provides, some of them believe that they would not be alive today.” Mr Wallace said.
“However, for years Caloundra Men’s Shed has faced uncertainty and severe limits to the number of members they could accommodate because of a small shed and short-term leases. Today is the beginning of a new chapter for the Caloundra Men’s Shed, with a permanent home and room to grow.” he said.
The new 475m2 building on Grigor Street in Moffat Beach will allow 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.
Phillip Ashby, President of the Caloundra Men’s Shed said “We have been squatting here virtually 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 will be able to build a permanent shed and expand the movement here in Caloundra.“
“We get constant enquiries from people wanting to join us but the current shed is limited in space. With the new shed it will allow us to expand the membership. We want to say thank you to Andrew Wallace and the Federal Government for this tremendous opportunity.” Mr Ashby said.
Mr Wallace said that this project would be a valuable boost for the Caloundra community.
“Funding for this project was a commitment I made in the 2019 Federal election and today the Government is delivering on that commitment. Though the project has been delayed by the necessary planning approval process, it could not have come at a more valuable time. As we face the on-going COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, this project is going to provide much needed work for local tradies, and 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.