THE importance of having a positive outlet to spend time with other blokes is not lost on the Merriwa Maintenance Men.
Known as the 3Ms, the group based at the RAAFA Estate Merriwa is one many initiatives around Australia celebrated during Men’s Health Week, from June 15 to 21.
The theme “moments in time” focuses on the idea that all the little and not-so-little moments in life add up to make a difference in men’s health and wellbeing.
The 3Ms has about 30 regular volunteers who do various odd jobs around their estate every Tuesday, including gardening, edging and pruning, plus recycling and building things in their shed before they have lunch together.
Resident John Lockley, who helps co-ordinate the 3Ms and has been part of it for five years, said the importance of having a positive outlet could not be overstated.
“It’s a positive outlet for men on the estate, in the sense that there are some people who are part of the 3Ms who don’t join other kinds of activities, who might not have that outlet elsewhere,” he said. “The jobs we do are usually simple activities, which aren’t always very physical but they’re large enough to make you feel like you’ve done something worthwhile.
“There’s also a good sense of belonging to the group when people recognise you as one of the 3Ms.
“The other aspect of it is that most of our activities are group activities, so it’ll be three or four blokes working together, which means you help each other along the way.
“Of course there’s lots of chiacking (teasing) and saying dreadful things to each other. It’s a good chance to meet new people and form some new friendships.”
RAAFA chief John Murray said Men’s Health Week helped to raise the profile of men’s health and wellbeing, which men might not otherwise discuss with each other.
“While the focus of the 3Ms is primarily on helping out in odd jobs around the Merriwa estate, a really positive by-product of the group is the fact it brings men together to have a chat together,” he said.
“It’s an opportunity to meet some new people and enjoy some activities that genuinely benefit other people, which helps promote positive mental health and wellbeing.”