WILLO’S Men’s Shed members are full of excitement due to the construction of their new dream workshop space set to commence next month.
The $20,000 shed was funded through the former State Government’s Fund My Neighbourhood program, which was an initiative encouraging the public to submit project proposals for things that would improve their communities.
Rotary Club of Gawler board member Mark Smeaton drove the project for the men’s shed, formulating and submitting the application, after he had investigated a series of potential fundraisers.
Mr Smeaton said Rotary became interested in helping the group after Willo’s Men’s Shed member Chris Rehn spoke at one of the club’s ordinary meetings.
“Chris came to our Rotary meeting and gave us a speech about Willo’s, and we were all inspired by it,” he said.
“I said to my Rotary team, ‘I want to take this on and run with it, and I want to get these guys a shed’.
“At first, Rotary was looking at how we could raise the money needed, and looking at what we could do to make it happen.
“But, then, the Fund My Neighbourhood government grants came up and we saw it as a great opportunity to get the project off the ground.”
The shed will be supplied by local business Ahrens Group, which was selected through a competitive tender process.
Willo’s Men’s Shed committee member Bill Tidswell said the workshop space will be well-used, with the group committed to continuing its work for the local community.
“Virtually, everything we do is community service,” he said.
“In some cases there is a charge, but that’s only because we have to pay for lighting and little things like that.
“This is a place for camaraderie and for the members to get together – we all love it.”
Willo’s Men’s Shed chairperson Neville Voigt said the shed has grown in membership over the past few years, and adding a new space will mean that more work can be undertaken.
“Five or six years ago, when I came here, there was something like 15 members and now we are getting close to 70,” he said.
“We wouldn’t have been able to have handled this on our own, and we are very grateful to Rotary for their help.”