Visit date: Wednesday 12th December 2018.
Camden Park is a suburb of Adelaide. The Community Centre was set up in a redundant Primary School in the 1970s. The Shed does not have its own website, but the Community Centre website gave me the contact number of the Volunteers Administrator.
The visit was arranged, and on arriving I was introduced by the Volunteers Administrator to Tony and Hamit. Both gave me a warm welcome, and the kettle was put on. Tony is an ‘old hand’, and has been with the Shed since it started, so he was going to show me around. Hamit had emigrated from Iraq, and had been with the Shed for two years. He told me that he loves the ‘Shed’ ethos, and is a regular member. Tony informed me that the Chairman was unfortunately not available.
It has been running since 2004 as integral with the Community Centre. The main workshop area occupies one of the old classrooms, and two side rooms. A metalwork shop with an external storage area is being developed across the road behind the ‘OP Shop’ (Charity shop).
This site consists of two disused garages and a yard.
The main workshop is devoted entirely to woodworking, set up with the usual machinery and hand tools. It is 7.4m x 7.4m, giving a floor area of 55m2.
It is well organised, with the two side rooms used to store reclaimed native hardwoods, items for sale or refurbishment, and members personal projects. Immediately behind the workshop is a small shed which houses the sawdust extraction equipment, and other stored wood.
Also managed by the Shed is a neat outdoor raised bed garden which can be used by both Shed and Community members. Open four days a week, the prime activities are making items such as decorative, quality Serving Boards made from native woods, refurbished items, raised beds, nesting boxes and retirement, birthday and wedding gifts, which are all for sale to support the Community Centre running costs. Luckily, the lads do not pay any rent or rates as they have an agreement to attend to any running repairs or maintenance of the buildings: obviously, within their abilities.
Health and Safety, and member accreditation procedures are followed, and records of accreditation are kept on file. To ensure the accreditation process is adhered to, each member has a colour code on the name badge that displays the level of competence that member has achieved. Accreditation is open for further review.
The Shed has a Code of Conduct, and a set of Objectives which align with the Men’s Shed ethos world-wide, being:
- Pass on the lessons learnt from ‘Old Jack’, which basically means that the more experienced volunteers share their skills and mentor the newer members, and ensure that all enjoy the company and contribute meaningfully to the community.
- Encourage camaraderie.
- Make and sell products to help cover the running costs of the Community Centre.
For more information: www.camden.org.au/woodwork