Ararat Men’s Shed hammering out important programs

14 December 2012

Reg Holmes-Brown and Charles Martin worked in very different fields prior to retiring. Reg was a migrant Argentinian who became the General Manager of Retravision in Ararat and Jukebox business owner and Charles was a migrant Scot and a Marine Engineer.

In retirement the two have come together to create programs that are having a significant, lasting impact on disengaged youth and disadvantaged families in the Ararat region.

While Mr Martin started the Shed to make friends and have a place where he could do the things he loved, he also saw the shed as a way to help make his community a better place to live.

“We’ve implemented a number of projects for the community over the years but perhaps the two we’re most proud of is our Hammer Grammar and Bikes for Tykes programs,” said Mr Martin.

Hammer Grammar is a collaboration between the Ararat North Primary School, the Department of Education & Early Childhood Development, and the Ararat Men’s Shed which aims to engage students who are at risk of dropping out of school. The program teaches students practical skills such as using tools safely and efficiently and helps to motivate them to stay in school.

“The program has been running for a few years now. What I’m most proud of is winning the battle to have girls involved,” said the Shed’s President Mr Holmes-Brown.

“Most of the time the students come in here with no idea how to use a saw or any tool. By the time they leave, they’ve gained confidence and new skills,” added Mr Holmes-Brown.

The other program, Bikes for Tykes, restores pushbikes and donates them to disadvantaged families.

“Second hand pushbikes are donated to us from all over Victoria. We do them up and give them to whoever needs them,” said Mr Holmes-Brown.

“While the bikes are predominantly for children, we recently gave a refugee family adult and children’s bikes. If a parent needs a bike too, we provide one,” said Mr Holmes-Brown.

If you live near Ararat and know a family who is doing it tough this Christmas, please contact Charles Martin at the Ararat Men’s Shed on 5352 1206 as he might have a pushbike available to donate to brighten up their holiday season.

Pacific Hydro has supported the Ararat Men’s Shed with funding for their Hammer Grammar and Bikes for Tykes programs through the Ararat Sustainable Communities Fund.