Bloke’s Shed offers a safe space to give back

Thinking outside the box . . . Blokes in their West Otago shed working on Lilliput Library boxes. PHOTO: STEVE WAGSTAFF

The Tapanui district is benefiting from the industrious creativity of West Otago Bloke’s Shed (WOBS).

WOBS opened in 2015 and operates out of the ‘‘Barrow Box’’ Otago industrial site on Cameron Rd ,Tapanui.

It contains a large selection of woodworking and engineering hand tools and machines and was set up to ‘‘foster and encourage menfolk in the district to meet and carry out personal, fundraising and community projects,’’ chairman Graeme Smith said.

Long smokos for hearty socialising are part of WOBS’ designated Monday morning meetings, but subscribed members can access the shed anytime for free use of the equipment and consumables like glue and screws.

Men are encouraged to undertake projects for their own homes and gardens, and offer each other expertise and training.

Stuart Timber Co supplies material for wooden farm gates which are built along with BBQ tables, benches and wooden toys, the profits of which then fund numerous local projects.

WOBS recognised the need for a safe›space for men only to meet and socialise, but children are allowed when supervised by one adult to one child.

Mr Smith said interested men and organisations with suitable project ideas should visit the shed on a meeting day.

Other community assignments had included quality signage, tables and doors, raised garden beds, restoration of the Tapanui Christmas sleighand woodworking mentoring for school classes.

‘‘I advertised a public meeting asking if there was aneed for a Bloke’s Shed in West Otago and around 35 men turned up at the local pub — we were offered a 25 x 9 metre building at very reasonable rental and our main fundraising activity allows us to purchase and maintain a large inventory of tools.

‘‘Plenty of men have projects to finish or get started so the Bloke’s Shed is a place to share ideas and chew the fat,’’ Mr Smith said.