A LANDSDALE-based men’s shed has been given a lifeline from City of Wanneroo council.
Councillors approved a $9000 one-off donation to the Northern Suburbs Men’s Shed for six months’ rent at its Gnangara Road facility.
Shed vice-chair Ken Kingwell presented a deputation prior to the August council meeting, where he described the uncertainty surrounding the shed’s future.
He said they operated from a factory unit thanks to an informal arrangement with the owner but he was seeking to lease it out.
If they were unable to pay rent he believed the shed would be forced to vacate and had nowhere else to go.
“We will have to try and keep our members together by various activities,” he said.
Mr Kingwell said they offered a “socially inclusive” space for men and made items for local charities including Wheelchairs for Kids.
He believed if they secured an appropriate space then membership would grow to 250 members within five years.
“There are many men in your community that need this support,” he said.
“In effect we get men to participate in community activities.”
Mayor Tracey Roberts congratulated Mr Kingwell on the shed’s achievements and said a meeting was held last year to investigate whether community groups could “join forces” to form a precinct, a concept he said he supported.
The donation proposal was part of a motion on notice by Councillor Domenic Zappa, who also sought development of a City policy on men’s and women’s sheds in consultation with the WA Men’s Shed Association and a report on possible financial assistance for facility access to be considered in the 2017-18 mid-year budget review.
Cr Zappa said he had worked closely with the shed for the past year and believed a donation was needed to help them in the short term while developing a policy to support the shed and other groups in the long-term.
“They are a fantastic community group, they do so much for our community in the southern part of the City of Wanneroo,” he said.
“All sheds in the City of Wanneroo should be given the exact same opportunities to grow and prosper.”
According to the City, it had presented a discussion paper on supporting community organisations to a council forum on August 1.
Following the forum it agreed to continue providing strategies for groups to build capacity and further investigate current levels of rent that would be payable by sheds operating from private premises and a potential model for financial assistance.
The report said the City had investigated but was unable to find a suitable alternative premises for the shed.
The funding donation was suggested to come from the community funding program but the City believed it could set a precedent for other community groups to make similar requests and recommended it be considered as part of the mid-year review.
Councillors unanimously supported Cr Zappa’s motion, with Cr Linda Aitken saying she hoped a standardised policy would help future community groups Cr Hugh Ngyuyen believed the risk of setting a precedent was very low.