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By Michael Doran

Yering Primary School students are enjoying their new cubby house, thanks to a blending of student manpower and expertise from the Yarra Glen and District Men’s Shed.

“The students wanted to get a cubby house and the Men’s Shed was happy to help us,” teacher Nick Westerman said.

“The kids helped design the cubby and then worked with the men’s shed guys to build it.”

It was a shared enterprise, with girls and boys spending time on a Friday at the shed under the watchful eye of Sid Bauma and his team.

“The first step was to teach them about safe use of the tools and get them used to hand tools” he said.

“I loved the kids’ enthusiasm, their keenness to learn and you could really see they were interested in what we had to say.”

Mr Westerman said the students involved all learnt new skills, “made connections to fantastic mentors and it was great for us to give them a voice in something new”.

Men’s Shed secretary, Ken Kneebone, said: “I think they enjoyed hammering the most, it was as noisy as any building site I’ve been on when they all started banging away.”

Talking to the students and their mentors at the opening, it was obvious how much joy they got out of working together.

“It was really fun to do something I like and using the tools to make stuff,” school co-captain Joel Ciccone said.

The men’s shed’s president, Tom Hardstaff, said the group had a lot of involvement in community projects.

“We all believe it is really important to pass these skills onto the next generation,” he said.

“It’s just part of what we do.”

The Yarra Glen and District Men’s Shed came about following the 2009 bushfires, when the issue of male physical and mental health was raised at a community meeting.

The club has about 55 members and is always ready to welcome visitors or prospective new members.

Information can be found at www.yarraglen.com/mensshed or on 9730 2864.

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