WANNEROO Community Men’s Shed has found a permanent home in Wangara.
The volunteer group, which refurbishes old computers, started in 2009 in a shed at Wanneroo Showground.
“This was burnt down accidentally and we moved to the Hainsworth Centre, and then to Daisy House in Girrawheen and Buckingham House in Wanneroo,” secretary Dan O’Keefe said.
Mr O’Keefe said the shed used a $440,000 grant from Lotterywest, a $400,000 grant from the Gaming Community Trust and $122,500 from its own funds to buy the Creative Street warehouse.
“I believe our purchase of our own building with these grants is probably a first for men’s sheds in Australia,” he said.
West Swan MLA Rita Saffioti and Wanneroo MLA Sabine Winton attended the official opening today.
“Investing in men’s sheds is an investment in the wider community,” Ms Saffioti said.
“They are a place where people can go to learn, enjoy company and give something back to the community through the charitable activities they regularly carry out.”
Ms Winton said the shed’s move to a bigger home had “been a long time coming”.
Shed vice chairman Gavin McIntosh said it was a “win-win” for volunteers and the community.
“Relocating to this new facility allows us to expand our operation,” he said.
Mr O’Keefe said the volunteers would continue refurbishing computers at the Wangara premises, as well as providing tutoring for using computers, training to use workshop equipment and public lectures on men’s health.
“Schools, businesses and councils donate their old computers to us and we refurbish them under licence from Microsoft,” he said.
“Microsoft sell us licences for Windows 10 and Office very cheaply on condition that we only sell these refurbished computers to disadvantaged citizens – people with a health care card or a Centrelink card or the equivalent.
“We charge from $80 to $150 for complete computers and laptops – so far we have sold over 3500 machines.
“Other things we do include recycling ‘too old’ computers, saving them from landfill.”
Mr O’Keefe said the shed had also sent more than 2500 old computers to Africa, and did some carpentry, although space was limited.
Members make furniture for schools through the Buddy Bench initiative.
For more information, visit www.wcmenshed.org