Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke recently announced a total of $36,533 in funding to help upgrade two local men’s sheds.

Gundagai Men’s shed will be receiving $26,515 to install a new and improved ventilation system and also to install a reverse cycle ducted air conditioning system.

“These improvements to the Gundagai Men’s Shed will ensure members can utilise the space in comfortable conditions all year around,” Ms Cooke said.

President of the Gundagai Men’s Shed Tony Tunstell said the shed’s members and the wider community greatly appreciate the funding being provided for better ventilation.

“When the call went out for shovel ready projects this project had been identified for a long time and COVID-19 pushed it to the top,” Mr Tunstell said.

“It will have a significant impact on our health and safety outcomes by removing potentially harmful dust particles in our work environment. The new reverse cycle system will also help us maintain a comfortable temperature during our hottest and coldest months of the year.”

Coolamon Men’s Shed is also set to benefit with $10,018 being provided to install a 6.65-kilowatt solar power system.

“Costs will be greatly reduced by the new system making operations more sustainable for present and future members,” Ms Cooke added.

Coolamon Men’s Shed Secretary Peter Condon said the installation of solar panels will help keep the shed’s electricity costs down and let the group shift their focus back onto their work.

“We are a small club with around 12 active members who just like working with their hands and enjoy tackling all sorts of jobs,” Mr Condon said.

“Men’s sheds are community-based organisations that do a fantastic job by providing men with a welcoming place to work on projects and make friends,” Ms Cooke added.

“They support men to keep active and productive, learn new skills, and share knowledge and experience which contributes positively to the community.”

Minister for Lands and Water Kevin Anderson said $1.62 million was being allocated statewide for improvements to men’s sheds, as part of the NSW Government’s COVID-19 stimulus program.

“Men’s sheds are places where men can hang out with mates, learn to build things, pass on skills, and give back to their local community,” Mr Anderson said.

“A study by Beyond Blue found men’s shed members can even fare better on physical functioning, general health, vitality and mental health.”

Australian Men’s Shed Association NSW President John Sharples said the upgrade projects would empower men and create renewed interest.

“We have 377 sheds in NSW with about 20,000 members and this stimulus funding will make a big difference,” Mr Sharples said.

“By improving infrastructure and making workplaces better and safer, we will be able to create a supportive environment that provides opportunities for members to contribute their men’s shed and the wider community.”