Partnership is shielding barriers

Newborough Men's Shed member Bill Lincoln and Moe RSL president Ian Caines launch a new partnership to tackle men's social isolation in the community. photograph hayley mills

Newborough Men's Shed member Bill Lincoln and Moe RSL president Ian Caines launch a new partnership to tackle men's social isolation in the community. photograph hayley mills

A partnership between the Moe RSL and the newly-formed Newborough Men's Shed will tackle social isolation and boost the mental wellbeing of men in the community.

Returned and current servicemen, as well as general community members, are invited to attend the men's shed on Monash Road, Newborough to share a cuppa and bridge the gap between the feelings of exclusion and isolation.

Moe RSL president Ian Caines said men sometimes felt threatened discussing their feelings and mental health status.

"Social isolation across our community in general is a significant issue for both men and women - people are living on their own, not having close friends and looking for some close companionship," Mr Caines said.

"Often they want a place to discuss their problems and issues and then of course we've got veterans who are recovering from post traumatic stress disorder or mental issues and once again the opportunity to meet people is a good way to deal with that."

"There is a need, no doubt our community needs this and men's sheds in Victoria are well known to provide that sort of a service targeted at men but don't exclude women if women want to attend."

The men's shed was formed six months ago and offers weekly opportunities to meet like-minded people and form strong connections within the community.

Newborough Men's Shed president Daryl Stevenson said the long-term plan was to establish a drop-in centre where people could get together in a warm and welcoming environment.

"It's for companionship and friendship – that's what it's about," Mr Stevenson said.

"Newborough and Moe is in an old area with quite a few people that are retired and they need an outlet sometimes to just have a chat."

Men's shed member Bill Lincoln, who came up with the idea to form a partnership with the RSL, said he had always been interested in men's welfare and thought the RSL would be a good place to start.

"It's not limited to veterans, but anyone in the community and we're there from 7pm to 9.30pm on a Wednesday night. If anyone has a problem they can chat to us," Mr Lincoln said.

"It's open to the community. If women would like to come along, they're more than welcome too."

Men's shed members take part in a range of activities like Mr Lincoln who writes poetry, Mr Stevenson who does a bit of woodwork, Kevin Coade who heads the art section or John Ierston who is currently constructing a trainset.

For more information about the partnership, phone Moe RSL

on 5127 1007 or Newborough Men's Shed on 0419 003 814.

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