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Blokes building bonds

Victorian aged care provider, Villa Maria Catholic Homes (VMCH), is helping to bring blokes out of their shells through its Men's Sheds initiative.
Villa Maria Catholic Homes' Men's Sheds is an 'anchor' for more men who are able to forge lifelong friendships.

This week is Men’s Health Week, celebrating the strengths and contribution men make to the community, as well as raising the profile of their health needs.

Men’s Sheds provide males with a casual and relaxed environment where they can be productive and add value to the community, maintain an active body and mind, and connect socially with others.

VMCH’s two Men’s Sheds – run out of its White Road Activity and Respite Centre in Wantirna South – offer men who are living with dementia, have experienced a stroke or have an age related illness, the chance to brush up on their woodworking, DIY and home maintenance skills, catch up on news and current affairs, play bingo and enjoy a group lunch.

Seventy seven year old Wantirna South resident, Noel Langford, has been attending the Friday Men’s Shed for four months. He describes his current project as a “big job”; constructing an Eiffel Tower from matchsticks. 

“Six of us started and I’m the only one left making it. It requires a lot of patience!” Mr Langford says.

Other group projects have included creating pencil boxes, tool boxes and a self-propelled cars for grandchildren. But, for Mr Langford, the social aspect is the most important.

“The thing I really like about it (Men’s Shed) is the interaction with the other guys. They’re a very friendly bunch and we like to read newspapers and magazines and have chats before we start the activities. I love our lunches too and, once a month we go out somewhere for lunch in the community.  I look forward to Fridays every week," he says.

Activity worker, Nick Guida, claims Mr Langford's story is reflective of most members.

“The friendships they forge are what keep the men coming back. They see it as an anchor," Mr Guida says.

He claims there has been an obvious, positive change in some of the 15-plus men from when they first arrive.

“There is one gentleman who was very quiet and kept to himself, he would often come in late. I’d never heard him laugh or talk much before but now he enjoys interacting with the other guys, and doing the quizzes, as he’s very intelligent. He’s coming out of his shell.”

Villa Maria Catholic Homes is a leading not for profit organisation providing quality holistic services and life enhancing opportunities for older people, children and adults with a disability, their families and carers.

Formed through the merger of Villa Maria and Catholic Homes in 2015, the organisation is one of Victoria’s largest not forprofit providers of disability, education, accommodation and senior services supporting 6,500 people across the state and southern New South Wales.

Find out more information on Villa Maria Catholic Homes’ Men’s Shed and Community Services programs or call 1300 484 552.


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