Looking out for Shed mates – a men’s health pit crew in action

It’s the little things that make the biggest difference when it comes to looking out for mates, and it’s no different at the Men’s Shed.

I was recently approached by Steven, a shed member asking if he could talk. He was worried about another member, who’d just spent time in hospital with a second cancer scare. Clarrie had returned to the shed to do what he loved; welding and fabricating. Steven was worried welding fumes and arc radiation might harm Clarrie. So he raised his concerns.

When I mentioned Steven’s concern to Clarrie he was overwhelmed that somebody would be looking out for him and other shed members. After a talk about the concerns and discussing the safety systems (an extractor in the welding bay, leather apron, gloves and welding masks, as well as fans to distribute airflow for all in the shed) – they were both happy with the outcome.

When Steven joined our Shed he thought his Parkinson’s and Dystonia (causing Steven’s body to freeze up) might preclude him. My father had the same conditions so we had no objections to his joining, but thought to partner him up with a mate while at the shed. Vince said he would like that task, it gave him something meaningful to do in the shed.

When Steve is bent over a lawnmower, Vince is there to straighten him up, pass tools and keep him safe. Since this pair have worked together, they have become inseparable – they do everything together.

I recently ran into Steven and his wife out shopping. She was thankful that we allowed him to join the Shed and pursue his passion for small engines like mowers and chainsaws. He was doing this at home but lacked male company. Since joining the Shed his overall wellbeing has improved and a grin always on his face.

All three of these guys will help anybody. Steven, Vince and Clarrie are part of what makes the Gosford Men’s Shed (NSW) a wonderful place to be a part of.

Larry Lloyd

President, Gosford Men’s Shed