Women's Shed Building Community

Published on 03 October 2023

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The Women’s Shed running out of the Healesville Living and Learning Centre (HLLC) has been operating for over 7 years. 

Starting out as an Introduction to Carpentry class open to all, the uptake by predominantly women saw the initiative grow from there.  

Now the HLLC runs three workshops a week, bringing women together to learn new skills, build projects, and fix and repair items, all while building community, connection and confidence. 

Jo has been a part of the shed for over two years. “I’ll keep coming until I run out of projects” she says. 

“I love learning the skills, learning how to use the tools. I can go home and use the drop saw now and know I'm doing it properly.” 

The workshops are guided by ‘absolute gem,’ Michael.  

“I haven’t heard of too many other Women’s Sheds around. It is a little different to the local Men’s Shed. The women can come here with their own carpentry projects, and I can help them with tools they may not have used before. Or I can work with them to build a new project they have in mind,” says Michael. 

The Women’s Shed movement had been growing around Australia in the five years preceding COVID. Like many other community initiatives, the lockdowns had a significant impact on the Healesville group. 

“We had regulars coming, who haven’t made it back,” Michael says. Other members though kept up with the workshops throughout.  

“I was making a letter box when the first lockdown happened, just a simple house shape. While we couldn’t go to the Shed, I was thinking what else does it need? By the end of the lockdowns, my mailbox had a veranda, window boxes, a chimney, and a carport with a little wooden car,” one regular member shared.  

Director of Communities, Jane Price says Council is proud to provide funding through the Neighbourhood House Partnership Program to support community development activities that benefit Healesville and the surrounding communities. 

“Supporting community assets like Neighbourhood Houses harnesses local knowledge in leading the implementation of services and activities that communities want and need. These centres play a significant role in building not only practical skills, but more importantly social and wellbeing connections as well.” 

Healesville Living Learning Centre Community Development Coordinator, Shona Rimmer said the centre provides community-based, lifelong learning opportunities. “The centre has been a real turning point in a lot of local people’s lives. We have some people who have been coming to different courses and groups here for over twenty years.” 

“We’re so happy we have the space to run the women's shed out of. It’s been wonderful to see the social camaraderie that has been built over time, and the women have real ownership of the shed, it’s their space and they are actively engaged in the evolution of the shed.” 

“And the things the participants build are incredible!” 

Visit hllc.org.au to find out more about the Women’s Shed, and Healesville Living and Learning Centre. 

 

 

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