A FULL-SIZE Tardis is just one of the cool things Activ Beaconsfield members have been making at the Fremantle Men’s Shed.
Every Monday and Wednesday, Fremantle support worker Peter Foley takes Active clients to the Men’s Shed on Shepherd Street, where they are supervised in the use of hand tools, sanding, hammering and applying adhesives.
“They’re very hands-on,” Foley says.
“We make a variety of things including furniture for houses, chopping boards, a coffee grinder, and recently we completed a big butcher’s block.”
The chipboard Tardis was made for the Activ Heartbeats annual play, which had a sci-fi element.
“The performing arts groups play was a retrospective look back at all the ones they had done,” Foley says.
“They required a time machine so that two of the cast could travel back in time to see past performances.
“It was designed so that it could be easily disassembled for transport.”
The not-for-profit Activ Foundation is one of WA’s largest disability service providers and has been operating for more than 70 years.
An Activ staffer for 37 years, Foley says clients work on everything from intricate jewellery boxes to vintage furniture at the Men’s Shed.
“A 1930s sideboard was donated to the men’s shed – We took the whole thing apart and made a small cupboard with two drawers and the rest of the wood was used to make a mirror with coat/hat hooks and a shelf,” he says.
“The finished item sits proudly in one of our customers Raymond’s home.
“The Freo Men’s Shed are very inclusive of people living with disability and the guys have great fun, with full supervision at all times. Some have even assisted on the bigger pieces of machinery.”
The Activ Men’s Shed program is run at low to zero cost, with clients selling most of what they make to fund ongoing membership. Their items are displayed in the Beaconsfield Activ shop with all proceeds going back to the program.
There’s also a social element with clients often chatting with regulars from the Men’s Shed.
“Having the Activ customers here has been just great,” says Men’s Shed spokesperson Rob Chapman.
“They’re a good bunch, helpful and curious about what we do and they are valued Shed members. Some of the things they’ve done at the Shed just blows us away.”
Activ regularly organise initiatives in Greater Fremantle including the Try-a-Trade Day, which gave students in year 10-13 and those re-entering the workforce with a disability a taste of different work environments.
To find out more about Activ see activ.asn.au and for the Freo Men’s Shed go to freomenshed.org.au.