A substantial state government grant could prove to be a game-changer for the Maitland Community Men’s Shed.
One of the most impressive facilities of its kind in NSW, the Jubilee Street premises boasts a garden; workshop; outdoor barbecue area; two morning tea rooms; woodwork, steelwork and computer/IT sections; boardroom, games room and much more.
Now, courtesy of the 2020 Community Building Partnership Program, the members have received $64,261 for the purchase and installation of a new wheelchair-accessible lift.
“We’re extremely blessed to gain funding, thanks to Maitland MP Jenny Aitchison,” Maitland Community Men’s Shed vice-president Steve O’Brien said.
“When I told the members about it on Monday (23 November), they all applauded the good news.
“Over the years, it’s become increasingly harder for some of the blokes to get up to the mezzanine area and store room, for example.
“And, these days, it’s also an OH&S issue. Unfortunately, we missed our [grant application] window in 2019.
“But, we applied for the funding this time around.
“The $65,000 is the said cost of the lift itself. So, we were very happy to get the money.
“In fact, we’re stoked. The community and business support we receive is fantastic, too, especially Maitland Toyota.”
Project coordinator Ted Borradaile stated the new addition to the shed would assist everyone.
“It will give the members, and any visitors, more access,” he said.
“We have a lot of schools visit [here], as well as groups such as Mai-Wel.
“Plus, there are projects going all the time.
“We recently installed a kitchen at the Aspect Hunter School at Thornton, which caters for children across the autism spectrum.
“They’re really beautiful people. The fellas also built a cubby house for the East Maitland Lions Club for their annual Christmas raffle at Green Hills.
“We’ve completed a lot of little jobs for elderly residents, too.
“We try to help the community out as much as we can.”
The Maitland Community Men’s Shed, which officially opened its doors in 2010, enjoys a strong membership of 140.
“We get anywhere between 25 and 40 [a day],” Mr O’Brien said.
“And, we’re open five days a week, from 8.30am until 2.30pm.
“As for COVID-19, it just means we’ve changed the way we do things.
“There are numerous [safety] protocols in place.
“However, the main premise of the organisation is that it gives many men a purpose – the wealth of knowledge among the guys is unbelievable.
“For instance, ex-St George Dragons’ rugby league champion Johnny King is a member, as was the late Eddie Lumsden.
“We accept blokes from all walks of life. Usually, each has a different skill set or talent.
“But, we don’t solely work on projects, we enjoy a chat and a cup of tea as well.
“I’ve seen a lot of people turn themselves around at the men’s shed,” Mr Borradaile added.
“That’s why places like this are important.”
The Maitland Community Men’s Shed was just one of 15 beneficiaries to share in $300,000.
“I am delighted that guys with mobility issues will now be able to take a more active part in the operations of the group,” Ms Aitchison said.
“Research has shown how beneficial it is for men to be part of these organisations.
“It’s terrific we can make it accessible for even more Maitland men.”
Applications for next year’s round will open in early 2021.
For more information about the NSW Government’s Community Building Partnership Program, visit the NSW Government website.
The full list of successful projects in the Maitland electorate for the 2020 round are:
- Playground redevelopment, Bolwarra district ($20,000)
- Stretcher, St John Ambulance Maitland ($11,499)
- Female Friendly Amenities, Alan & Don Lawrence Oval, Thornton ($40,000)
- Purchase and installation of oven/stove, Millers Forest Community Hall ($4710)
- Repairs and refurbishment, East Maitland War Memorial Community Hall ($15,765)
- Food preparation area, Bolwarra Uniting Church ($35,000)
- Wheelchair-accessible lift, Maitland Men’s Shed ($64,261)
- Facilities and equipment upgrade, Youth Express ($24,339)
- Solar, air-conditioning and plumbing, East Maitland Guide Hall ($20,999)
- Alfresco play area, Maitland Family Day Care ($8000)
- Mezzanine workshop floor, Morpeth Men’s Shed ($15,000)
- Solar Project, Maitland St Vincent de Paul ($4255)
- Lighting and air-conditioning, City of Maitland Pipes and Drums ($9380)
- Coloured LED Sign, Maitland Rep Theatre ($12,000)
- Timing system, Maitland Triathlon Club ($14,792)
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