Men's sheds aim to help Illawarra males of all ages beat social isolation, while also being engaged in meaningful community projects, from gardening to metal work.
Kanahooka man Brian Bullen, 82, is vision impaired and in a wheelchair.
He joined the Kanahooka Men's Shed several months ago, and said it was "the best thing that ever happened to me".
"My wife and family are a big support, but to come up here... These guys look after me so well," he said.
"I was isolated, I couldn't go anywhere... It's a good outing, it gets me out of the home. I look forward to coming here every Wednesday."
Member for Whitlam Stephen Jones visited Kanahooka Men's Shed on Wednesday.
The visit was to acknowledge the importance of men's sheds across the Illawarra, and to meet with members for Men's Shed Week (September 28 to October 3).
Men's sheds are community-based, non-profit, non-commercial organisations accessible to all men.
Their primary activity is the provision of a safe and friendly environment where men are able to work on meaningful projects at their own pace, in their own time, in the company of other men.
A major objective is to advance the well-being and health of their membership.
Groups such as the Kanahooka Men's Shed had to close for a few months earlier in the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
One fella said to me, 'I'm glad I come over here, (because) I'm sick of sitting around the house looking at the four walls'.
However, they have since re-opened, with social distancing measures in place,
Among their goals is to help males in the community who may have been feeling increasingly isolated due to the pandemic.
Kanahooka president Ken Hadden and treasurer Peter Johnston said the group formed about nine years ago, and currently had nearly 30 members.
Mr Hadden said they had gained four new members during the past few weeks.
"It's all based on community," Mr Hadden said.
"And it's companionship for all the boys that are here... We get on really well.
"One fella said to me, 'I'm glad I come over here, (because) I'm sick of sitting around the house looking at the four walls'."
Meanwhile, Mr Jones said men's sheds play a valuable role across the Illawarra.
"The genius of the program is that the health and mental health stuff is embedded in a seamless way," he said.
"There's a lot of talk about mental health issues in the community, and men's sheds are a great answer to that.
"They are a great place for men to meet, chat with each other and learn a new skill. And if there's a need for more intensive intervention, they've got referral services available to them."
To find your local men's shed, visit the https://mensshed.org website.
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