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18 January, 2021

Men's shed committee has sights set on 2021

Establishing a men’s shed in Weipa is the obvious New Year’s resolution for Chris Baldwin and Derek Mowles.

By Matt Nicholls

By MATT NICHOLLS

The driving forces behind a local steering committee, the dynamic duo spent much of last year lobbying for local funding and business support.

You’ll see the pair at the Alby on a Friday night, selling tickets for meat trays as they try and hit their fundraising target.

To be built at the transformed Weipa Showgrounds area in Rocky Point, the men’s shed would be a place for local blokes to work with their hands in a safe environment.

Rio Tinto Weipa has already committed $50,000 towards the cause, which is about a quarter of the total cost.

“(Baldy) came up with the original idea for the men’s shed in town,” Mr Mowles said.

“The main reason for wanting to get a men’s shed up and running was to create a meeting place for men and a place for new hobbies and a yarn.

“The space is also designed to help look after the mental health and personal health of our town’s men. I’ve had my own personal experiences with mental health and I know mental health concerns were significantly heightened during COVID – especially for the contractors stuck in town.”

Mr Baldwin said a men’s shed made sense for Weipa.

“One of the main reasons I wanted to get this space up and running in town is because I hate to see single people living in town who don’t have access to space to work on their recreational equipment and pursue their interests or hobbies,” he said.

“I feel the absence of this kind of recreational work space can often contribute to some mental health issues.”

Mr Mowles said a men’s shed would be well used.

“The Weipa Shed will be different to other men’s sheds around the country because of the demographics of our communities,” he said.

“We don’t have a large older community like other places, but I still think it will become a place for men of all ages to gather and work with their hands and perhaps even mentor some of the town’s youth.”

Anyone wanting to contribute can email christopher.baldwin@riotinto.com


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