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Bruce Mather has put his practical skills to good use through his involvement with the Hamilton Men’s Shed.
Bruce, who spent many years in practical and maintenance jobs, says he is someone who likes to stay busy, and this led him to become a founding member of the Men’s Shed in 2007.
The Men’s Shed is based in Ward Park Arts Centre in the central city, and is a community workshop, for men to share skills they have used in their profession and want to put to good use helping other people in the community.
For many people who are retired or between jobs, it is a great way to put their skills to practical use.
Currently around 40-50 people attend the workshops during the week over four sessions. Despite its name, the Men’s Shed now also runs a ladies session once a week.
"‘There is a wide range of skills at the shed," says Bruce.
"If you can’t fix something yourself, all you have to do is have a yarn to one of your mates, and they will probably be able to fix it for you. We can help each other, and also the community, with our practical skills."
Bruce has been a part of a number of volunteer and community projects the Men’s Shed has organised. In April, he worked on constructing 180 crosses for use in Anzac Day ceremonies. He also helped design and construct musical instruments as part of the Sistema music project being run in a number of schools in Nawton and Crawshaw schools. That particular project was fulfilling when he saw how much the students gained from and enjoyed the project.
But Bruce also sees lots of opportunities to use whatever skills someone has at the Men’s Shed, as well as being a great place to meet up and socialise with others.
Bruce urges other older people to get out and involved in the community where they can, as it staying busy is important once people retire.
"Since I’ve been retired, I’ve been busier than I have ever been, and absolutely loving it. You don’t want to sit at home and watch the walls get smaller around you. Getting out in the community is both good for you, and for others too. So give it a go!"
If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Volunteering Waikato at 07 839 3191 or www.volunteeringwaikato.org.nz.