Posted by Margaret Mason on Jul 21, 2021
The meeting was conducted on Zoom. Alan Kempton was Chair.We had visiting Rotarians from the RC of South Davao in the Philippines,
President Michael Gerard and Past President Arthur Uy. The guest speaker was John Dixon form the Bentmoor Men's Shed.
President Helen welcomed members and visitors. She reminded members that notice of the $5,000 donation to the District 9810 Storm Relief Fund will be circulated for the second week. Members will vote at the meeting on 28 July 2021.
The guest speaker, John Dixon is the Shed Manager of the Men’s Shed at Moorleigh Community Village in Bignell Road, East Bentleigh. He told members that the Men’s Shed is a place where men can relax in the company of other men, learn to share, to  support and to express themselves while working together shoulder to shoulder. The vision of Mens Shed is to promote men’s health, to provide a safe environment for social inclusion and to facilitate enjoyment of activities.
Men’s Shed allows men to pursue their pastimes, hobbies and interests as well as learn new skills. Encouragement is given to men to look after their own health and the health and well being of others. John said that in February 2021, they moved from the Leighmoor Church in Wickham Road where they had been located for ten years, to the Moorleigh Community Village in East Bentleigh. There are facilities for a range of activities such as wood and metal work, arts and crafts and guests presentation etc.
John emphasised that the Mens Shed is NOT a casual drop-in centre or adult Day Care. It is also not a volunteer based organisation or a “repair cafe” for private work.The annual membership fee is $50 and there is a daily attendance fee of $2.00 which goes to provide refreshments. The membership is currently 150 and members are primarily above 60 years of age, the oldest member being 97 years old. However men in the 30 to 50 age group are starting to join. Members come from all socio economic groups and make up a wide range of abilities.
The Mens Shed is not a commercial competitor. Members do a lot of repair and repainting work of toys for the toy libraries and child care centres. They also make  things like book shelves to donate to the community, and participate in a variety of community projects. They also do some fund raising to assist in their financial viability.
The Shed's current challenge is to ensure that funds are available to continue the crafts programme (when funding runs out) and to provide a token remuneration to maintain the Shed Manager’s position. They are also looking for 2 to 3 more volunteers to assist in the overall running of the facility.
Members were reminded that our club, RCBMC, had contributed $4,000 to assist the Shed relocate to Leighmoor ten years ago.