Aboriginal men in the Bendigo community have a new place they can gather, talk and enjoy activities together with the unveiling of the Bendigo and District Aboriginal Co-operative’s new Djaambi Men’s Shed.
BDAC chief executive officer Raylene Harradine said the shed was an initiative that had been in the pipeline for years, after men identified a need for such a space.
Ms Harradine said the concept of the shed was modelled on existing Men’s Sheds, but with a cultural lens applied to its activities.
The Men’s Shed movement aims to provide places where men can contribute to their community and connect with other men, helping maintain good mental wellbeing.
This was a point reiterated by Ms Harradine, who said the shed was important because while women often came together and talked, men did not tend to simply meet and chat.
“I think men need to have a safe environment… where they have that opportunity where they can open up to each other,” Ms Harradine said.
She said the shed, located at the BDAC site on Prouses Road, would complement the medical and community services available, providing a wraparound service for the men.
The shed is not yet being used, but is expected to open in the coming months.
Ms Harradine said there were about 30 men already who planned to be involved with the men’s shed, but that number was expected to grow.
Willie Whyman and Russell Hynes are among the men who plan to make use of the shed.
Mr Whyman said the shed would provide a meeting place where men could come together, and seek support from friends if they were having a bad day.
Even if they did not take part in any activities, he said, it was a place they could simply “come have a cuppa and a yarn”.
Mr Hynes said he also expected it would be a space where men could meet new people and make friends.
The shed was built with $60,000 from the state government and $40,000 from BDAC.