Bangalow Men’s Shed needs more sizzle

More support sought: L to R Brian Mackney (Bangalow Men’s Shed president), Chris Haywood (Bangalow Lions president), Andrew Winton-Brown (Lismore Men’s Shed president), Tony Heeson (regional delegate to AMSA) and Dean Box (Casino Men’s Shed president).

More support sought: L to R Brian Mackney (Bangalow Men’s Shed president), Chris Haywood (Bangalow Lions president), Andrew Winton-Brown (Lismore Men’s Shed president), Tony Heeson (regional delegate to AMSA) and Dean Box (Casino Men’s Shed president).

Chris Dobney

Bangalow’s much anticipated Men’s Shed had its unofficial opening on Monday evening with the ubiquitous sausage sizzle catering to more than 130 people including Byron’s mayor and several councillors.

But there are still a few more snags to get over before the Shed is able to open its doors officially, and the town’s mature gents are turning their thoughts to the thoroughly modern method of crowd funding to get it over the line.

But before that happens, members would like to see Byron Shire Council chip in a few bob.

The newly appointed convenor of Bangalow Men’s Shed, Brian Mackney, praised the efforts the Bangalow Lions Club for its efforts to get the building to its current lock-up stage and urged the group ‘to consider every alternative to raise the necessary funds’ to get the Shed open.

Mr Mackney said he had taken ‘a hands on interest in this valuable community project’ and called on Byron Shire Council for support.

‘Local government across the state has been quick to support the Australian Men’s Sheds Association [AMSA], he said, with direct involvement in the project management, construction and administration of many of the 350 or so sheds across NSW.

‘Such has been the success of these ventures, some councils now boast several sheds within their boundaries,’ Mr Mackney said.

The crowd at Monday's (March 7) Men's Shed launch. Photo contributed

The crowd at Monday’s (March 7) Men’s Shed launch. Photo contributed

‘Given the lead our council has taken in many other important social issues, it comes as a surprise that Byron Shire is reportedly the only council in NSW which does not have an AMSA affiliated shed.

‘In contrast, the Bangalow Lions Club has committed virtually all its resources over recent years towards the establishment of the Bangalow Shed, obtaining a long-term lease to an area of Catholic Church land, seeking development approval from council and then building a shed and carpark.

‘For that they deserve the highest recognition and congratulations.

But there is a still some way to go, with Mr Mackney estimating an additional $50,000 in cash is required to complete the project and compliment the generous and ongoing’in kind” voluntary contributions by local professional and trades people and community and Lions Club members.

Remaining works include plumbing, electrical, internal walls and lining, and the addition of machinery, equipment, furnishings and storage.

Mr Mackney said that council’s GM and other senior staff members recently met Lions Club representatives on site.

‘Their interest and support has been very much appreciated by the Lions.

‘While there is no doubt the community will ultimately see this project through to completion, Mr Mackney said, ‘I am fearful that the critical momentum established by the Lions Club could be lost if additional funds cannot be found quickly.

‘Although enthusiasm remains, there are hints of frustration at the magnitude of the remaining works and the capacity of the local community to respond.

Of concern is the reality that the Lions have had to set aside all other important community projects to get the shed to its current stage.

‘The prospect of another two or three years commitment by the Lions is daunting to some and will undoubtedly place excessive financial strains on the club, potentially to the detriment of other important community works and club morale generally.’

Mr Mackney said he wanted to place on public record the efforts of the Lions and the local community to date.

‘But there is clearly a need to identify additional sources of funding to assist the Bangalow Community in completing this very important project,’ he said.

Lions president Chris Haywood thanked the community for their strong support, drawing attention to the many supporters both large and small, listed on an honour board displayed for the benefit of those in attendance.

‘The community has been extremely generous over these past few years and [this] kick-off BBQ is a particularly exciting time for the Lions as they see the fruits of their labour and are now able to hand over ownership of the Shed to the community,’ he said.

Byron mayor Simon Richardson recounted the value of the Men’s Shed organisation to his own father and congratulated the Lions Club for their initiative ‘in establishing this valuable community resource and the organisers and volunteers responsible for its construction.’

But he stopped short of offering council cash.

Anyone who would like further information about the the Men’s Shed can contact Brian Mackney at 0413 679 201.

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