BUILDING COMMUNITY: Kilkivan Men's Shed Chairman John Hevey (left) has the full support of Callide MP Jeff Seeney.
BUILDING COMMUNITY: Kilkivan Men's Shed Chairman John Hevey (left) has the full support of Callide MP Jeff Seeney. Rowan Schindler

Women to be welcome too at the Kilkivan Men's Shed

WOMEN will be welcome to participate in the Men's Shed being planned to help Kilkivan 'survive'.

It is a community crisis that affects everyone, according to the men behind the idea, John Hevey and David Timperley.

They say the town needs a social and service centre urgently.

"Everyone's drifting apart," Mr Hevey told Callide MP Jeff Seeney this week.

"The town has missed out on too many things," Mr Timperley said.

"There is a clear necessity for a Men's Shed."

Mr Seeney said the support already offered by Gympie Regional Council would be an important factor in further grant applications, but the process of getting the money in might have to be done in stages.

He said the involvement of women in the project was a sign of the diversity built in to the national Men's Shed movement.

The idea began with concern for the counselling needs of war veterans in the community, both men said.

The proposed shed would provide improved facilities for visiting medical and social work professionals as well as recreational opportunities for residents of a district also increasingly suffering the effects of drought.

"We are in a drought situation here at the moment," Mr Hervey said.

"People are downsizing their cattle herds and before too long that leads to financial stress and then marital and emotional problems.

"And all that sometimes leads to desperation and even suicide.

"We've had one suicide in town in the past 18 months.

"We want a community style men's shed that will involve women as well."

The plan is for a shed to include specific woodwork and metalwork sheds and a welfare area, which would provide for counsellors to meet clients, including veterans.

"One of the most important attributes of a Men's Shed is communication," Mr Timperley said.

There will also be a covered car park for the district's visiting doctor, who comes fortnightly from Caloundra.

"We're between two health districts. Which means we are not really covered by either," Mr Timberley said.

"We have the Sunshine Coast and South Burnett health districts on either side."

"It's a kind of No Man's Land," Mr Hevey said.

But they make do with the gratefully acknowledged help of visiting professionals.

"We have a visiting nurse, a podiatrist from Brisbane, a physiotherapist from Kingaroy and a Rural Health clinician from Maroochydore," he said.

Both men acknowledged the generosity of Gympie Regional Council in providing a site, on which the shed will be built.

"We will maintain a garden for the council and do some maintenance work.

"The shed will be built by Just Sheds in Gympie.

"It will be a major piece of infrastructure for Kilkivan," Mr Timperley said.

"If we just sit here and do nothing, the area will suffer.

"People are drifting out of the area, selling up their homes.

"Many have to leave to access medical support."

Mr Seeney said he was happy to help and would have his office advise on grant applications under the Community Benefit Fund and other sources of money.

"And we do have access to some of those boards to help answer their questions," Mr Seeney said.

"I think the Men's Shed concept is a great one and we've had some great successes in other towns.

"Our fist one in Callide was at Gin Gin and we've had good results from facilities at Murgon, Biggenden and Monto."

Mr Hevey said the two had approached the council "to get a piece of ground to put a shed on and we'll be co-establishing with the existing health centre."

Mr Timperley said they had received "very good feedback from the medical profession."

Mr Seeney said it was also important that a Men's Shed reflect the community and have its own individual identity.

"It's important it's your place. Every group has to make its own way," he said.

"For men's sheds to be a success it's important that all of you feel that it's your own place.

"People have to feel it's their place," he said.

"We just concerned at the town going backwards, with no focus and people drifting away," Mr Hevey said.

But, with a floor slab soon to be organised, that will all change, one step at a time.