THE Orange men’s shed has become a popular hangout for elderly men seeking practical skills and companionship, with women strictly not allowed - until now.
Orange City Council staff have started investigating the possibility of creating a women’s shed, with a slightly different focus.
Community services manager Maureen Horth said as couples grew older and one partner died, they also left a gap in the household chores.
“When men find themselves alone, they might have to learn to cook, and if the woman is alone, she has to do things her partner always did,” she said.
“It’s about sustaining their independence.”
The idea of a women’s shed to teach basic home maintenance and mechanical skills to older women was raised during consultations with the aged community on priority areas in the NSW state plan and it was in the early stages of consideration.
The council has run workshops in the past, in partnership with Sydney-based group Supporting And Linking Tradeswomen (SALT).
Neighbour and support worker Paula Beattie said women were willing to embrace new skills.
“Women who never used hand tools before completed a project and they loved it,” she said.
Ms Beattie anticipated a women’s shed would operate similar to the Two Sheds Workshop in Bega, where carpenter Jo Saccomani runs workshops for women.
“My vision is to have all sorts of things - painting, decorating, carpentry, what to look for when you’re buying tools, taking care of your car - there’s a lot of potential,” Ms Beattie said.
“It’s about working out what the needs are.”
The next SALT workshop will be held on August 1, open to the council’s Home and Community Care clients.
For more information about the workshop or to get involved in a future women’s shed, call Ms Beattie or Jodi O’Sullivan on 6393 8974.