Sun, Feb 19, 2023 9:00 AM
Stemming from a strong focus on men's health, Renwick MENZSHED brings like-minded people together in a community space to share skills and work on practical tasks while undertaking small jobs in the community that are too small for tradies to do.
They are part of around 150 sheds across the country, and nine across the top of the South Island from North of Kaikoura over to the West Coast above Reefton and up to Golden Bay.
Renwick Menz Shed began in a humble shed at Wairau Anglican Diocese in 2011 and has now outgrown its current capacity.
David Packer, chairman of the Renwick club and a member of the National Menz Shed board, has been involved with the organisation for many years and says the need for the group is vital and a huge benefit to the community.
“One of the main reasons Menz Sheds started originally in Australia was the number of male suicides when men came under severe stress or who were living alone and could not see any future, the Menz Shed is about looking after these people, getting them back into the community, and making them feel wanted.
“It's all about getting men out of their homes when they retire and find they have no hobbies or not planned for a new life. Our shed members come from all walks of life to work on many different projects where they can learn from each other, pass on their knowledge to others, and to learn to look after one another.”
Playing a proud part in the local community Renwick Menz Shed have worked on a myriad of different projects across the district.
“Also, apart from working with the local school, our shed also works with Blenheim Alzheimer's group and hosts 'Shed Days’ for some of their residents who enjoy coming to the shed to work on their projects and having a cuppa,” David says.
“One of my highlights during my tenure with the shed is the joy we have seen when the local schoolchildren who, along with their teacher and caregivers, come to our shed every Friday for woodworking class and the joy on their faces when they have completed a toy and having painted to their colours can now play with it with their classmates.”
The local group has seen a rise in numbers over recent years, and along with it, a growing need to expand the site.
“We are very grateful to the Wairau Anglican Diocese as they had originally started the shed back in 2011 and allow us to run our shed from the site.
“But with a rise in membership, we needed to increase the shed size, so a couple of years ago we purchased a second hand 9m x 6m shed.
“The members dismantled it and transported it back to our site where it sat while Covid was rampant throughout the country.
“In January last year we rebuilt the shed and raised the roof height by half a meter.
“With a few grants, many BBQ's and much fundraising we finally open the new shed this week. It is such a great achievement by our members and local trades and suppliers.”
Located at 54 High Street, Renwick, on the left-hand side of the Anglican church, Renwick Menz Shed is open on Tuesdays from 8:30 am -2:00pm and Fridays 8:30am – Noon. Morning tea is provided.
“All men are welcome! Call in for a cuppa and a chat, look around and join in on our or your projects. Bring your skills and pass them on or learn new skills.”