Rocky’s Men’s Shed goes up but a roadblock stands in the way
STANDING proudly at CQUniversity, the first new shed in the new Men’s Shed Complex is a sight for sore eyes, but there’s a daunting financial impasse preventing the shed’s eager members from settling in.
Over the years, Rockhampton’s Mens Shed has performed a vital role in the community providing a place for both men and women to interact, obtain health information and overcome social isolation – a role all the more important as locals grapple with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
After the group outgrew its old shed, Rockhampton Men’s Shed chair Jim Lawler and his wife spent years working to realise a new shed complex – work which is now bearing fruit as over the past months construction shifted up a gear.
A relieved Mr Lawler said the members couldn’t believe their eyes as the shed progressed from earth works, to laying the slab to the shed parts arriving, the frame going up and the exterior of the first shed being completed.
He said members and generous donors had contributed $30,000 towards the shed with $13,000 spent on the first stage of plumbing installation.
Without the power and sewerage connections, Mr Lawler said the shed couldn’t be used as an operational facility with the members only able finish the internal fit out and use the shed for storage.
“The next stage on this part of the build should be the connection to the sewer and power which will cost approximately $40,000,” he said.
“We’ll start work on that now and try and raise the money.”
He hoped local business leaders, community groups and politicians would pitch in.
Mr Lawler said this wasn’t just a shed for a half a dozen blokes, it was infrastructure that would assist the wider community over the years to come.
“If anyone can help with this part of the build either in cash either in full or as little as even $5 from everyone, it would all be of assistance,” he said.
Once the second shed was complete, Mr Lawler said they had offered it to be used as a part of Rockhampton Regional Council’s pilot program Voluntary Organisations Active in Disaster (VOAD), where organisations shared knowledge and resources throughout the disaster cycle — preparation, response and recovery — to help disaster survivors and their communities.
“The shed would become a hub for that program to do training as well as when there’s a disaster like a fire, and someone’s lost their house, they’ve got somewhere to come to and some people to talk to, to sit down and have a chat and make them feel at home,” he said.
Rockhampton Men’s Shed’s fundraising efforts received a boost from the Australian Taxation Office this week when it confirmed the Treasury Laws Amendment Bill 2020 would introduce a general category of Deductiable Gift Receipient (DGR) for community sheds passed in both houses of parliament.
This measure will soon enable donors to claim an income tax deduction for donations of gifts of money or property of $2 or more made to community sheds that are endorsed under this new category.
To contribute to the project go to the Rockhampton Men’s Shed web page and hit the PayPal donate button.