In a time when people feel more and more disconnected from each other, a growing movement is changing the lives of men across the state, the country and the world.

Men’s Sheds started from humble beginnings in 2007 with a simple idea to bring men together to help combat loneliness, isolation, boredom (particularly for retired men) and to create a space of mateship.

Eleven years on and more than 350 Men’s Sheds now sit proudly in suburbs across the state including in Croydon and Croydon Hills, with another being developed in Mooroolbark.

The backyard shed is part of Aussie culture and this extension of a valued institution ensures men can come together in a safe and nurturing place to work on projects and alongside community groups.

The sheds encourage members to put their skills to use for the benefit of their community – they develop mentor programs for school aged children, assist new migrants to integrate into their community, and provide a place for participants to have a chat, learn new skills and give back to the community.

Some of the sheds are attached to local Neighbourhood Houses, Community Learning Centres and churches providing more social connections. The majority have tools that are used in the shed and also loaned out to the local community.

In one shed you could find men repairing bikes for local charities or making toys for children, others may be fixing lawn mowers or cubby houses. And there are some where you will find men of all ages and backgrounds just having a chat and a cuppa – creating friendships for life.

Since their inception, the Men’s Sheds have proven to significantly benefit the physical and mental health and wellbeing of their participants.

Men’s health studies have shown that good health is based on self-worth, being productive, contributing to community, connecting with friends and maintaining an active body and mind.

The Men’s Shed movement is a powerful tool in addressing men’s health and wellbeing, recognising them as valued and productive members of our local communities.

I am proud to be part of a community that supports initiatives like these.