Port Fairy Men's Shed members celebrate Port Fairy Folk Festival grant

Port Fairy’s growing men’s shed membership base has more room to move thanks to a $3100 grant from the folk festival committee. 

The money has been used to expand the machinery shed with a new timber store on the northern side of the building.

Handy: Port Fairy Folk Festival president John Young with Port Fairy Men's Shed president Peter Down in the refurbished shed which was made possible thanks to a $3,100 festival grant. Picture: Rob Gunstone

Handy: Port Fairy Folk Festival president John Young with Port Fairy Men's Shed president Peter Down in the refurbished shed which was made possible thanks to a $3,100 festival grant. Picture: Rob Gunstone

The additional space has freed up the machinery shed, which was previously used for storage, to hold more power tools and room for the men to work. 

Member Martin Sullivan said the upgrade also improved health and safety with the noisier tools used in the back, while the front shed was reserved for sanding, drilling, cold metal bending and socialising. 

The money also paid for safety switches to be installed on all of the machines to bring them up to occupational health and safety standards. 

President Peter Down presented Port Fairy Folk Festival president John Young and vice president and treasurer Bernie Waixel with a certificate of appreciation at the shed’s official opening on Monday. 

Mr Down said the new shed had made a big difference to the machinery shed and had improved the facility. “It’s done wonders for us,” he said. 

Mr Down recognised the role the folk festival played in the community and the event proceeds which were reinvested into local groups and organisations.

Mr Down said about three quarters of the group’s members volunteered on the festival construction crew, helping to erect and take down marquees at Southcombe Park each year. 

“Most of you fellas are responsible for the money that comes in anyway through your efforts on the constriction crew,” Mr Young said. 

“It just goes to show what this community does in terms of how it links with everybody. It co-operates and its very community conscious. It’s one of the best communities to live in.” 

The Men’s Shed has 80 members with a core group of about 22 who attend each Monday and Wednesday from 9.30am to 4pm, stopping for a light lunch and chats during the day.

The social side is a highlight with the camaraderie evident as soon as you enter the shed, which is located at the Port Fairy Showgrounds. 

Mr Young said members ranged in age with some in their 80s and included retirees from farming and trade backgrounds who shared their skills and knowledge. 

Group members work on projects for local organisations with some of those including the Port Fairy Bowls Club, the community centre and St John’s Anglican Church They also complete private jobs such as furniture repairs and some toy making.  New members are invited to attend the sessions. 

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