By Mick Jensen
It’s not quite completed, but the impressive refit of the new Ashburton Menz Shed building has been showcased to supporters.
The shed, tucked away in a council yard off William Street, was formerly the Allens Road building of Grieves Transport and was gifted to the Menz Shed by Greg Donaldson Contracting.
It was relocated to its site and has been fitted out over the last 10 months.
Menz Shed members have mucked in, shown a can-do attitude and used their practical skills to transform it into a fit-for-purpose space.
Separated areas in the airy 400m2 shed focus on woodwork, metalwork and assembly.
An open plan and comfortable relaxation lounge and kitchen area has been included as a key design feature to encourage fellowship among members.
Speaking at the packed opening event, Ashburton Menz Shed chairman Stewart Dunlop said the Menz Shed concept was as much about connecting men socially for health and well-being benefits as it was about completing projects.
Early discussions on establishing a shed in Ashburton had been facilitated by Diane Smith from Presbyterian Support and a public meeting in March 2014 had shown clear support for the project, he said.
Shed member numbers had built quickly and a venue off the Methven Highway had been used for a couple of years.
Mr Dunlop said there had been strong backing for the Menz Shed locally and generous support from the Community Trust of Mid & South Canterbury ($44,000), Lion Foundation ($75,000), and Ashburton council, as well as “favours” from many others.
The build project had been managed capably by Dick Hansen and a building committee led by Lindsay Holland, he said.
The Menz Shed has an initial two year, rent free lease on the 1400m2 site and will be charged just $1500 per annum by council after that.
The Menz Shed concept, which originated in Australia and has spread to a number of other countries, brings men together in one community space to share their skills, have a laugh, and work on practical tasks individually or in groups.
Ashburton Menz Shed founding member Lindsay Barnett said the donated Allens Road shed had been both a “gift and a headache”.
“A lot of work has gone into refitting this building and about 90 per cent of that has been completed by our members, who have worked like teenagers to get it done.
“It’s a fantastic achievement and only going to get better. It’s an amazing facility for Ashburton.”