Building Community Connection with Margaret River Men’s Shed

  • Howard Park

As a family run business, Howard Park Burch Family Wines place a strong value on community connection and support. As an integral member of the company, Howard Park Wines Warehouse Manager, Phil Christian identified an opportunity to strengthen ties within the Margaret River community through partnership and support of their local Men’s Shed.

“Men don’t talk face to face they talk shoulder to shoulder”

It’s this quote from Professor Barry Golding of the Australian Men’s Shed Association that truly encapsulates the philosophy and understanding behind the national initiative. Community Men’s Sheds are designed to bring members together to provide a safe space to connect with new friends in a productive, comfortable environment. Based on the understanding that in our society, many men have learned not to talk about emotions and feelings, and as a result don’t have the same level of self care and mental health awareness as women. The sheds have been established to provide a space for men to come together and work shoulder to shoulder on projects, giving them a natural space and support to improve their health and wellbeing.

Previously involved with charities such as Beyond Blue, Phil is passionate about community engagement and believes it is important to encourage community participation to both build awareness and ward off depression and anxiety.

Phil explains “in the South West region 1 in 6 households  have a single-person occupancy. It can be a very lonely existence. However, charities and organisations such as the Men’s Shed are helping to alleviate that loneliness by providing a place for people to come together and work on projects together”.

Building equipment with the community

When Phil realised the warehouse was in need of new tirage bins, he reached out to the local Men’s Shed to see if the members would be able to assist in the new project. Led by a Margaret River local, affectionately known as ‘Big Kev’, the Margaret River Men’s Shed quoted a price for 65 tirage bins, and with the prices comparable to those of Perth suppliers it was full steam ahead.

While traditionally a ‘Men’s only’ initiative, the Margaret River Men’s Shed is the only ‘shed’ in Australia to have full-time female members, and in this instance the tirage bin project was assigned to nine of the female members. The results were excellent with the product delivered to an exceptional standard and the service was excellent from start to finish.

Thrilled with the results from the team of women, Phil and Howard Park hosted the group at the Howard Park wines cellar door on the day of delivery, gifting each member a bottle of sparkling wine and celebrating the new partnership.

Since this initial project Phil and the Howard Park team has enlisted the Men’s Shed to help complete several new projects, and are looking forward to a long and rewarding relationship.