Foreign News

Great when our little patch connects with far flung places. Two things posted here:- 1) an interesting approach from South Korea that is posted on the Kidz Making Good website and 2) a summary of a visit paid by another UKMSA Ambassador to friend Len’s Labrador Shed on Australia’s Gold Coast.

Read here the communication we are having with a University team in South Korea Interesting because we have a South Korean family who live in Sleights who has offered to help bridge the language gap 🙂

We think this is clear

Regarding Labrador – one of 10 Sheds visited by Martin Young

Shed 5: Labrador Men’s Shed. Gold Coast. Queensland.

Visit date:  Thursday 17th January 2019.

The website for this Men’s Shed is amazing!  (see link at bottom)

Whoever put it together and manages it has to be applauded.  I will not go into detail, but just pick out snippets from the site to whet your appetite to read more. I arranged my visit with Len the Shed Secretary, but on the day of my visit he was unfortunately on Shed business to secure further supplies of exotic hardwoods donated by a Luxury Yacht Shipyard.  However, the lads made me welcome, and my host Phil gave me the guided tour.

The Shed forms part of a Community ‘Hub’ Complex. The Shed is a medium sized industrial building measuring 28m x 9m (Floor area = 252m2 plus a large lean-to structure which is used for tea breaks, and work which needs to be done outside.  The building is made up of two halves.  The first was provided by the Gold Coast City Council and the second half was added by the members funded by grants from the Federal Government Member and the Council. The building itself is split into woodworking and metalworking shops fitted with dust and fume extraction equipment, the usual office and toilets. A mezzanine floor above the ground floor rooms is used for additional storage space.

The Shed was officially opened on Thursday 12th August 2010 by the Gold Coast Mayor Ron Clarke MBE.  Set up as a ‘not for profit’ voluntary organisation. The Shed initially operated under the auspices of the Benevolent Society, which is Australia’s oldest charitable organisation, being established in 1813.  This was done in order to obtain a lease from the Council for the building however, the Committee were able to show, after 12 months that the Men’s Shed was a sustainable organisation and the auspicing arrangement ended allowing us to operate as an independent entity.

The Queensland State Government has yet to embrace the Men’s Sheds to the extent of other States in terms of regular funding however, there are many grants available to assist with funds as they are required.  Men’s Shed Labrador has, over time, gotten itself into a healthy financial position such that the need to seek funding is greatly reduced. 

There are 1027 Sheds in Australia who are all members of the Australian Men’s Shed Association (AMSA).  AMSA has regular contact with the majority of the Sheds and from time to time runs regional Shed gatherings.

However, because of the size of Australia it is impossible for one national organisation to be in contact with every Shed.  State Associations have been formed and these in turn have created Zones with a co-ordinator assigned to the Sheds within his respective Zone.  The State Association then reports back to the AMSA Board through their relevant Director of which I am one of nine who make up the AMSA Board.  The Zone concept has pretty much replaced the “Cluster Groups”.

Back to Labrador.  Health & Safety requirements are high on the Committee’s agenda.  Whilst the use of eye protection and dust masks is highly recommended it is not compulsory.  The wearing of closed shoes is.  Labrador has a very strict assessment procedure for all members.  They must be assessed on each machine on joining and then every two years.

Membership stands at approx 150, of which approx 25 different members attend on different days. It does get crowded, but the outside lean-to space helps alleviate the problem.

I will let the website tell you more about the community projects the lads have been involved with, but interestingly here they make Possum Boxes!

The annual Membership fee is AU$60.  The tea fund is charged at AU$1 per visit.

If a member wishes to use materials from the store for personal projects then a minimum donation of AU$2 is asked for.

For more information:  The ‘Tongue and Groove’ monthly Newsletter is worth a read too.

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