A Gobfest for Good

A Gobfest for Good

NLV communities are all about connecting people with people by giving them spaces to gather or play. Consensus among researchers is that Social Connectedness is vital for wellbeing and longevity, but more often than not, it’s the women who are doing the connecting. Not so at Tuart Lakes, where an expanding workshop is bringing blokes together. ..and it’s not just the blokes who are benefiting.

Tuart Lakes is one of our newest villages and as it grows, so too does use of the workshop. Eighteen months ago, some of the men formed a committee aimed at improving equipment and expanding the work area. The plan was to pool their talents and build items to sell as fundraisers. It wasn’t a very social space back then, as Liaison President Alan explained, “People used to work quietly away, one in that corner and one in that corner but there was no get together.”

The committee met once a week at the workshop, but numbers grew, and it soon evolved into a popular social gathering. According to Committee President Clive, up to a dozen blokes now join the conversation. “It always turns into a bit of a gobfest. We work till about 10 o’clock then the kettle goes on and we have a brew up and just chin wag and think of ideas to make money. The door’s always open for whoever wants to come. Even if they don’t work in the workshop, if they wanna come down and pour their heart out, they can.”

A lot has been achieved in 18 months. They’ve raised funds from selling their craftwork, upgraded equipment and started the first in a series of projects to expand the workshop. The regulars have also taken on a number of improvement projects around the village. According to Clive there’s no skilled labour shortage at Tuart Lakes, “There’s a lot of men here that’ve got a lot of experience and technical ability, most of them are retired and they’re not wasted here. Their experience is put to good use.”

The men are constantly sharing their skills and knowledge and always quick to assist each other, but eagerness to help extends well beyond the shed. Lenny, a retired OH&S Officer who has taken on the safety role in the workshop, says people in the village who are struggling often don’t like to ask for help, so the guys just ask the question “Do you want a hand?”.

These guys aren’t just happy to help, Alan says they get a real buzz out of doing things for the community. “The big thing out of it for me, is the sense of adding value, and I think everybody here can lay claim to that. One of the biggest contributors to longevity is not food, not exercise, it’s actually community and that’s what we’re building here.”