Community Contributions

A central element to the Shed’s is the work it does for its community. Since 2012, it has helped a range of groups and people with the woodwork skills the men have developed and practiced in the Shed. Several men also bring their expertise from previous professions. The members at Breakfast Point Men’s Shed have been committed to supporting locals outside of their organisation, it remains a primary objective of the group. 

Breakfast Point Community Association

The Community Association (CA) at Breakfast Point is charged with the maintenance of public space across the suburb, essentially replacing the role of a council for some 5000 residents within the area. Many members at BPMS have volunteered their time and skills on numerous occasions to support the association in this endeavour. Acting on their behalf, they have conducted a series of community projects, saving the CA thousands of dollars that were able to be invested elsewhere. 

 

Some of the notable work that has been done has included a complete survey of the boundary fence on Tennyson Road. Conducted by Shed member Peter Lane, a retired surveyor, the old walling at the entrance of Breakfast point is monitored for structural deficiencies. The “fence” acts as a reminder of the sites past, previously marking the boundary of the AGL Mortlake Gasworks. Surveying work and maintenance has also been conducted across the entirety of the seawall and riverside pathways. The men have personally numbered the lighting across the foreshore.  As one member noted:

 

                  “You’ll find if you go along the foreshore there’s markers every 50 m’s  the lights numbered, so if one lights are broken someone can ring up and have a guy come down to fix it. We’ve done all that work for the community”


Other members also mentioned that they had ‘painted the inside of the admin building.’  This is yet another heritage listed building located across the street from the Men’s Shed. It is the sight from which the Community Association operates and holds functions. Indeed, it remains the place where the “Shedless Men” meet on monthly occasions to hear talks from guest speakers. 

Shed members attending the ANZAC Day Service near Breakfast Point Oval, 2019. The Shed has a large presence in community affairs.

Beneath is a full listing of the works BPMS has done on behalf of the Community Association:

 

  • Survey and monitoring of the boundary fence in Tennyson Rd.

  • Survey and monitoring of slippage in the County Club car-park.

  • Preliminary survey for the original plan for the extension of the County Club. This has included a complete re-modification of the outdoor decking.

  • Survey of the seawall, riverside pathway and garden boundaries. 

  • Installation of 27 numbered markers to identify key areas along the foreshore.

  • Placement of numbered markers on all street lighting poles and pathways to assist in identification for maintenance.

  • Preparation of Admin Block walls. Patching, washing and then painting of all walls in AB2, AB4, AB5, AB6, AB7, the accessible toilet and high ceiling corridor. Finally BPMS rust-proofed the steel support beaming of the Administration building. This has saved the Association approximately $30,000.

  • Annual set-up and removal of the 160 chairs required for the ANZAC Day Dawn Service. The group also collected donations for Legacy.

  • Escort and guidance from the Cabarita Wharf to the Country Club for guests attending a GOOGLE function held at the Country Club.

 

Through this work, BMPS has become a vital part of the wider Breakfast Point community. They have a genuine concern for the maintenance of their suburb, utilising their group power and individual talents to directly aid the Community Association.

Wider Community Projects

In addition to the work done for the Community Association, BPMS has worked extensively for its wider community. As the Shed has grown, so too did conversation about the utility of their projects. The men noted that ‘word just gets around’ when it comes to doing jobs for the community. 

 

The following story if worth quoting at length:

 

‘one of the projects was when one of our member’s wives had a stroke … she was administered into hospital. Y’know in stroke rehab as part of it they learn to step up on stairs and things like that, and all they had at the hospital were phone books wrapped in tape for people to stand up on. So, when we found out about that, we made these boxes with two or three steps on them, for the hospital and donated them. Since then we’ve done similar things for Canterbury Hospital, Seventh Day Adventist Hospital, RPA, Balmain, so word gets around - “these guys here can do this for your rehab people.''’

 

The men have contributed to various hospitals and care groups over their time. These have ranged from step boxes for those recovering from stroke attacks, to sensory boards for dementia patients. In fact, one of their most recent projects (November 2019) has involved a partnership with the Catholic Health Care Centre at Croydon. Here, the men have a prototype for the first time, smaller hand-held boards for patients to hold in their laps. Other projects have included the creation of these boards for a women’s refuge. 


“Bunnings found out about a women’s refuge at Lewisham. So they came to us and wanted sensor boards not for dementia patients but for women who were escaping abuse, the would go into this facility and they’ve often got kids … so the kids have got nothing, so it was something for the kids to play with. We made little doorbells and locks.”

Concord Stroke Rehabilitation Equipment. These include steps, tactile screws and shelves.

Croydon Catholic Health Care Sensory Boards, 2019

The men also help on an individual basis, on smaller projects. Women have come in ‘wanting their grandmas old chair fixed’ and other such odd jobs. Within the Shed, the tendency for visitors to enter and ask for assistance became more apparent as its notoriety grew. One such member explains recent events:

 

‘local residents come and knock on the door if they’ve got a problem. We’ve made a ramp for one fellow who was in a hospital who couldn’t get his walker into the shower. And there is quite a number of single women, widows etc in Breakfast point and they’re at a loss if anything needs fixing.’

 

As is evident, the BPMS spend a significant portion of their free time an energy away from their own projects and concerns. They are committed to serving their community in different ways, and have often helped to provide practical solutions for individuals and groups alike.

Beneath is a comprehensive list of community projects completed by the Men’s Shed, courtesy of Men's Shed documentation:
 

Concord Hospital

  • Garden boxes for the Drug and Alcohol Rehab Unit.

  • Garden boxes for the Mental Health Unit.

  • Garden boxes for Yaralla Mental Health Unit in conjunction with Bunnings, including the planting of vegetable seedlings.

  • Table tops for the Recreation area of the Cancer Survivors Unit.

  • Stroke rehab equipment including arm exercise boards, stimulus equipment, fine motor-skills development boards, dressing sticks and arm exercise boards.

  • Notice board for Cancer Survivors Unit.

  • Sensory play boards for children at a Women’s Refuge 

 

Balmain Hospital

  •   Stroke rehab equipment including a variety of “stepping” and mobility   items.

  •   Buddy Seat for the Preschool 

 

RPA Hospital

  • Standardised stroke test kit.

  • Stroke rehab equipment including fine-motor skills and stepping aids.

 

Blind Society

  •    Braille practice boards.

 

Schools

  • Buddy seat for Concord Primary School and Concord Pre-school.

  • Mud-kitchens for Concord Kindergarten and Cabarita Mortlake Pre-school.

  • Painting all outside tables and chairs for Concord Kindergarten.

  • “Wall of Jericho” for St Patrick’s, Mortlake.

  •  Refurbishment of wooden play equipment for Cabarita Mortlake Pre-school.

 

Bunnings

  • Attendance at Father’s & Mother’s Day Events, Scouts Activities' Nights and Easter Family Nights

  • Conducted Bunnings BBQ for the Bandaged Bear Appeal, raising $1700 for the Children's Hosptial

© 2019 by William Blanks, University of Sydney. Proudly created with Wix.com

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