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Bellingen Men's Shed

Establishing & Building the Bellingen Men’s Shed

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It began in 2010...When the Rotary Club of Bellingen invited Michelle Stockton of Camp Creative to speak at one of their meetings. She made an empassioned appeal about the Australia Men's Shed project, and Bellingen Rotary members unanimously agreed to auspice this major venture. The project to build a Bellingen Men's Shed had been a dream of a few dedicated and passionate locals who together with the support and assistance of Bellingen Rotary formed a steering group called The Bellingen Men's Shed Committee under the auspices of Rotary Club of Bellingen. This commitment by Bellingen Rotary was to manage the shed finances, cover the insurance, help raise funds to build the shed, provide labour and project management support, and provide leadership on the steering committee. The iniital focus of the shed was on woodwork; however the Men's Shed was keen to diversify as other tools and machinery were acquired. 

In 2011 the Bellingen Men’s Shed commenced operating  in a private shed in South Street until the owners sold their property in May 2013. This accelerated plans to build a shed and permission was given by Bellingen High School in June 2013 to use a small portion of land at the back of the school. A memorandum of understanding was drawn up with the Bellingen High School Principal, Rob Stockton. 

Stage One: Project Management was enacted resulting with the concrete slab laid, shed purchased and construction completed.  Bellingen Rotary contributed $13,000.00 at this stage to ensure building the shed would succeed. Further cash injection came the from Camp Creative Committee.

Stage Two: Electricity was connected with wiring throughout the shed. The  internal layout was completed,  including a wall to divide off the kitchen/meeting room with a mezzanine ceiling for storage of timber etc. Equipment and labour were donated by Lodge The Raleigh by digging the trenches for the electricity connection.

StageThree: We purchased and installed a water tank for the water supply to the kitchen and to build a composting toilet for use by both the Men’s Shed group and the Bellingen Community Gardens, which is located along side the Bellingen Men’s Shed on the Bellingen High School grounds. 

Stage Four: Rotary continued to provide leadership and support as the Men's Shed moved toward being a standalone independent entity. This included writing a constitution and becoming incorporated, establishing insurance and applying for an Australian Business Number. On 2 April 2016, a Management Committee was formed to manage the Bellingen Men’s Shed took place on the 2 April 2016. Members of Bellingen Rotary continued to assist as members of the shed and working on the Management Committee.

This project has been a huge task with much needed funds being raised through hard work and donations received along the way. The total project has cost approximately $70,000.00 and untold manhours to create a Plan of Action and build the shed .  This was possible only through the collaboration of many groups coming together to work toward making this project a reality.  The generosity and hard work of Bellingen Rotary included planning, donations, and many hours of voluntary labour.

We are proud to have supported the Bellingen Men’s Shed in becoming a sustainable and viable group in the community. It has enhanced the health and well being for men in our community, and opened the door to establish many programs including mentoring youth from Primary school age in the use of hand tools to create and build projects of interest.

We worked alongside other dedicated organisations and individuals who - in true Community spirit - led, volunteered, and sacrificed to see this project completed. They include: Camp Creative, the Bellingen Neighbourhood Centre, Lodge the Raleigh and the many, many individuals who have given so much of their time. The Community is now receiving the reward for their efforts. 

 

 

The project required a dedicated focus over a few years, and under the leadership of Presidents James Christian, Diana Christian, and Stuart Allardice, Rotary never waivered in its commitment to see the project completed in grand style.  None of this would have been possible without Bellingen Rotary Club, who although small in membership, is effective and committed to achieving results in any project we take on.

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