HELPING MATES: The Callide Valley Mens Shed is determined to not leave their elderly members in complete isolation.
HELPING MATES: The Callide Valley Mens Shed is determined to not leave their elderly members in complete isolation.

Supporting mates more important now than ever

THE Callide Valley Mens Shed is weary of its elderly members who remain isolated under Covid-19 guidelines.

With the club's operations ceasing more than a week ago, vice-president Graeme Whelan is concerned for the mental state of elderly members that are under isolation.

"A lot of the time we've known these people for 50 years and you can tell by their tone of voice or how they speak whether they are happy or suffering stress," Mr Whelan said.

"We have one or two members that we are concerned about.

"The majority are comfortable with the decisions we have made and that the government has made.

"The trouble will be as this situation may stretch for weeks and then months then those people that were happy may be suddenly not happy."

Mr Whelan said the groups ethos of supporting men has never been more important than it is now.

"We have people with underlying health issues or are going through chemotherapy," Mr Whelan said.

"We have people who have recently had operations and they are all extremely concerned about what this all means for them, how long will the shed be shut and how long they will be in self-isolation.

"While they aren't paranoid, they are extremely cautious and concerned."

The Australian Men's Shed Association (AMSA) has launched The AMSA Shed Online to help 'shedders' stay connected during a period where Australians are being encouraged to stay at home.

AMSA Executive Officer David Helmers said the goal of The AMSA Shed Online is to facilitate an online space where people can connect in the same way they do at the shed - over a cuppa and a laugh.

"We have used the original online shed platform as an inspiration to create a simple online space for Australian men to stay connected - as they would in a shed - at a time when community connection is increasingly difficult, but still vitally important to our health and wellbeing," Mr Helmers said.

Although one or two members may request to use the mens shed to work on a project, Mr Whelan said sadly there aren't a lot of projects where that is possible.

"If we don't stay in touch we aren't sticking to our ethos of offering and giving support to our mates," Mr Whelan said.

"Anyone over 70 told to keep well away from others it makes it hard for anyone to turn up and visit.

"If you turn up and there's someone else there there's three people and it's illegal."