The Shed Brings Newfound Friends Together at Bellarine Springs

If you’re ever looking for someone at Bellarine Springs retirement village, there’s a good chance you might find them ‘out in The Shed’.

Run from a well-equipped and purpose-built workshop at the village, The Shed is a place where village residents can get together for a chat, make all sorts of items for themselves and the village community, and borrow tools to use at home. Bellarine Springs resident Geoff, a retired geologist and amateur handyman, helped set up The Shed in September 2017, and now goes into the workshop “at least once a week” to work on projects and meet up with newfound friends from the village.

“The Shed provides people with the kind of workshop space they might have had before moving to the village, meaning they can do away with their own tools, and use the excellent equipment available for anyone to use here,” Geoff says. “So far the group has made timber garden beds for the community veggie patch, wooden drink coasters for the dining room, and steps for the library – and we’re now putting our heads together to plan other projects for the village community.”

Odd jobs
The Shed group also helps village residents with odd jobs around their homes. “If a resident needs a small repair done, such as a drawer insert made or a light bulb changed, all they need to do is ask, and we will help them out,” Geoff says.

Residents Alan (L) and Geoff make items for themselves and other Bellarine Springs residents as part of a group called The Shed.
Positive and inclusive

Geoff says that along with being a practical resource, The Shed group provides a positive and inclusive social environment that welcomes men and women of any skill level to try their hand at woodwork or meet up with other residents. This reflects research by the Australian Men’s Shed Association, which shows that such groups can help combat loneliness and isolation, and contribute to improved mental health and overall wellbeing. 

Alan, another keen participant in the group, says The Shed gives residents the chance to share ideas, ply and learn new skills, or just “have a good chinwag”. “The group gives us the chance to meet other residents, work on some fun projects, and do something for the community… which can be really satisfying, Alan says. “And if people don’t feel like getting hands-on, that’s ok too. We’re a very friendly group, and everyone is welcome to pop in at any time to say hello and have a chat.”