THE WALL at the Dubbo Community Men’s Shed is plastered with thank-you notes as a testament to the good work the organisation does in the community.
When it first began a few years ago, the organisation had only one aim: to help other men and enjoy a fellowship.
Within months it moved from serving those inside to extending a helping hand to the wider community.
Former police officer Phil Knight was one of many locals who converted to the Men’s Shed movement.
“Men find it harder to confide in each other, much harder than women do,” he said.
“I was one of them, I was reluctant to share the burden with my family, such as trauma,” he said.
“I realised the best thing you can do is talk about it and share it,” he said.
“This forms a common bond between the men of all the good and bad we’ve shared in life.”
When the organisation grew in numbers and the men who wanted a hands-on role increased, a need to keep them active and engaged had to be met.
“They came to do something, not just to drink tea and coffee and play cards,” he said.
Mr Knight insisted there were no pressures to participate in certain activities and the men could just sit and relax playing cards.
Several men who were self-employed had never experienced what it meant to be part of a team and enjoyed working together.
This boosted their self-esteem, gave them a sense of self-worth, pleasure and friendship and brought out the best in them, Mr Knight said.
It started with fixing chairs and tables, then as its profile grew so did its member base.
“Our biggest achievement is when National Parks and Wildlife approached us and asked us to make nesting boxes for the endangered black cockatoos in the Goonoo forest,” he said.
“What the men do at the shed is unique - there’s nothing like it,” he said.
“We have no hierarchy as such, no big brother telling us what to do. Each shed is autonomous.
“Each man has something to contribute and is encouraged to have an input in the decision making.”
The Men’s Shed recently helped raise $1400 for the vicitims of the Wurrumbungle bushfires.
The Shed also gave shovels, crowbars and other tools to help rebuild in the aftermath.
The Daily Liberal asked Mr Knight what would have happened if the organisation only helped those inside the house.
“We would have stagnated, boredom would arise and our numbers could have halved,” he said.