This is a story one of our members from Blue Gum Hills Men’s Shed wrote and was published in the RichmondPRA ANNUAL REPORT for 2014.
Looking forward to things everyday
When I was a kid, my dad had a small workshop in the back yard . He used to do up engines in there – I just learnt how to do things from watching him. I also did my welding ticket at tafe when I was a lad. When dad cleaned out his tool shed, I converted it into a aviary. Birds were given tome – about 15 or 20 birds. I put a shelf and some breeding boxes into dad’s old tool shed and ended up with 60 budgies. I guess I always had a thing for birds after that.
I also used to ride a motorbike but I broke my leg – it put a damper on my schooling and everything. After recovering and with my confidence pretty low, I ended up living in a boarding house. When I became too unwell to stay in a boarding house, I’d go stay in hospital. I’d then get discharged and go to live in another boarding house. It felt like living on the edge all the time – very little security for years, a couple of decades.
RichmondPRA have been supporting me for 14 years – no more boarding houses for me. They’ve helped me stay out of hospital. I used to get 24-hour support. While I was living in 24-hour supported accommodation with some other men in Cardiff, I needed to occupy myself so I built an N Gauge train set. It had 3 separate controllers on it. I put the train set in the garage that belonged to my unit which I wasn’t using – the whole thing was 4.5m x 3.5m. After I moved out, it was too big to move without a truck and I knew I’d have nowhere to put it. So, I donated it to a local day care centre for kids to enjoy it as much as I did.
Now I’m managing by myself with drop in support after being assessed through the national disability insurance agency (NDIA) in Newcastle. I really like the support I get from RichmondPRA .
NDIA referred me to community based activities, which I attend on a Monday at valentine. We regularly have BBQ’s and picnics at different locations and I also assist in setting up at the BBQ’s. I also have a 1:1 program with RichmondPRA where we go out on Saturday and Sunday afternoon. When I told NDIA assessor that I like doing timberwork and metalwork, they referred me to Wallsend Men’s Shed. The Men’s Shed runs 5 days a week and I attend there on a Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. At the Men’s Shed we do major handyman work and mow the occasional lawn. We make wind chimes and other stuff that people buy at markets. They’ve put plans in to council for a building on the block of land that council have donated to them. I’m really looking forward to being part of that.
Now, at my house, I’ve just finished building an entertainment unit for the house and a workbench for the garage. When I moved here about 6 months ago, I was given a small cage and thought I’d start keeping finches: now I’ve got 1 female and 2 males. The female’s young but she should start nesting soon. They have to get to about 2 years old before they start breeding. I need to save up some money – I’d love to get a motorbike again.
Life’s good, I’m back on track.