FIRST Urban Shed- delivers Active Ageing model for the City of Melbourne

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Recently Andrew Stefanetti chairperson of Melbourne Men’s Shed invited key people for breakfast at Melbourne Town Hall to be acknowledge by the City of Melbourne for their contribution in establishing a world first project the urban men’s shed, based in the heart of Australia’s most livable city Melbourne.

Certificates of appreciation signed by the Hon Lord Mayor of Melbourne Robert Doyle, presented by the Deputy Lord Mayor of the City of Melbourne Susan Riley. Also present was Councillor Beverley Pinder-Mortimer, who delivered a speech of gratitude to those who donated their time and expertise.

Men’s Shed’s have been a large part of Australian culture for some time, yet the concept of an inclusive urban shed in an Australian city was developed by Anthony Bright. “At the time an urban model did not exist”.

Research began in 2012 and took place over a few years as a Health Scientist and director of the Lifestyle Company. “A trip to China to explore the urban metropolis of Tianjin, sister City of Melbourne influenced the final vision.

The urban shed model caught the early interest of Professor Barry Golding thus the concept was presented to Federation University.

Diversional Therapist Trish Ailen is a key contributor to the success of this first urban shed. Trish donated her time and expertise to support programs that enable members to promote their own physical, emotional and social wellbeing.

Alan Seale a retired Chemical Engineer designed a compact woodwork room and completed the build on time and under budget.

Heart Foundation heart walking organizer Ray Brett leads a fun, safe and inclusive walking program with the aim of influencing members to get active and move more in their own community.

Further government support will provide access to consumers that are yet to be involved, especially homeless men and young people with disabilities who end up in nursing homes. According to Anthony these young people should not spend their days in aged care.

The urban shed model has the capacity to bring people together that would not necessarily mix due to outdated stereotypes segregating age and gender and economic status- practically in a well-resourced city such as Melbourne.

Contemporary cities should be hubs for diversity not silos for the wealthy. People with disabilities should be offered affordable housing models in the city that link into the abundant often-lavish urban services and be funded on the premise of enablement- not the current model of disability.

The most significant contribution in the establishment of the first Urban Men’s Shed is undoubtedly the investment of time, including students, working professionals, an urban Doctor and retired professional people. The knowledge, experience and support to help established a permanent place for people to meet is now a reality due to support of the City of Melbourne and the wider community. Building this new model at the peoples meeting place – Federation Square is an example of how to utilize the social and built capital of Australia’s most livable city Melbourne.

Anthony Bright
DTA Victorian Representative

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