The Men’s Sheds across the region have always been sources of comradery and fellowship, and in Coota, John Ashcroft has spent a decade in charge, but that time has finally come to an end. John spoke with the Times to reflect on his time working as President in the Men’s Shed.

 

 

“I retired from a real job and it was suggested I look around for what I was going to do and it was suggested I take a look at the men’s shed. I went back a few times and discovered what a worthwhile venture it was for a whole lot of reasons,” he said.“I was there for about 16 years, ten of those as President.”

 

 

“The membership changes because we have people who come in and move on and you have people who come in and age catches up with them, but what else I’ve seen change is it be- coming a much better- known community organisation.”

 

 

“The other big change was that we moved from a relatively small premises to the very large premises we have now. It’s all been done up nicely, we’ve been back in business for quite some time. I can only see a good future for it.“It’s hard work, we help each other out when we need help. We know each other and welcome new members into the fold which creates an atmosphere of wellbeing.”

 

Steph Cooke awarded John Ashcroft a plaque in recognition of his work at the shed which came as a big surprise for him.“The whole thing was totally unexpected. They said they would give me a BBQ send off which we have done for people in the past which means the members have an informal type BBQ. They spring thew whole thing on me, we had Steph and the Mayor there. It floored me a little.

 

 

“One of the main reasons I‘ve stood down is because were moving to Wagga from Coota. That’s something we’ve carefully considered for various reasons. The closest relatives are now living in Wagga and the facilities we need now that age is catching up to us are more readily available in Wagga. Now is the time to move on.”

 

 

“Men’s Shed is a lot more than people think it is, it’s not just about repairing things and building things. It’s also about men’s health and looking out for the guys that find themselves at loose ends, who don’t know what to do and making sure they have an out- let in the community so they don’t feel alone. I like to think people will still support it and people will enjoy it and not be frightened of it.”