Anne and Fiona McComb brandishing Women's Shed weaponry.
Anne and Fiona McComb brandishing Women's Shed weaponry.

Hunt for a suitable Women's Shed

THE concept and establishment of men's sheds has proved a respite for so many men who wanted some space for individual practical creativity, the opportunity to be away from the home space, and to enjoy some male cameraderie. Now, women are seeking the same things.

In particular, older women who's husband may have passed away or is not a hands-on practical person - and who would rather fix a leaky tap themselves than be subject to the often-unreliable whims of an expensive handyman or tradesperson.

Noosa Women's Shed president Anne McComb and her daughter and founding member Fiona are seeking to copy successful women's shed models in Coolum, Orange, and a host of other locations in the nation.

The big problem - just as it initially was for men's sheds - is where they can be established.

"I held an expressions-of-interest meeting at U3A and got a good response to this idea,” Anne said.

In fact, they initially set up at U3A, but it soon became impractical - and so the search began.

"We all set up and ready to go,” Anne said.

"We did a course on learning how to erect a furniture flat-pack,

following the instructions, and we had so much feedback from women saying how they felt about their new ability,” Anne said.

"This is about empowerment and financial stability; many women are pensioners who don't have the skills to deal with things that pop up around the house, like a broken fly-screen.

"Now, we just need some premises.”

Noosa MP Sandy Bolton said the Women's Shed was "a wonderful initiative and one as seen by the fabulous men's sheds throughout the electorate who deliver both a space and place, in which to connect, mentor, develop and share skills and friendship, fostering stronger networks and capacity”.

"Finding a space is now key, and over the coming weeks I will work with Anne and Fiona to identify possible sites, or potential 'shares' to create a vibrant model,” she said.

Noosa Council's community development manager Alison Hamblin said council was working with Noosa Women's Shed although it couldn't offer the group a council-owned site currently, staff were helping in numerous ways.

"We are able to provide governance support and help them establish a solid membership base. We've put them in touch with businesses, community groups and State Government agencies that may be able to help with sponsorship, program delivery and perhaps even accommodation,” she said.

Ms Hamblin said it may take some time for a suitable premises to become available within the Shire, but council would assist wherever possible.

"The Men's Shed Pomona secured its site from the state, while Unitywater was able to provide Noosa's Men's Shed with its home at Girraween.

"Council welcomes the launch of the local Women's Shed group in conjunction with International Women's Day 2019, and we will provide ongoing assistance to the Noosa Women's Shed however we can,” Ms Hamblin said.