First Women’s shed open for business

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It may be Men’s Shed week but the women of town have decided to take over.

The Charters Towers Women of the Outback Shed was officially opened by Mayor Frank Beveridge this morning in a Queensland first.

It will be the only one in the state that is a separate entity and not run in tandem with a men’s shed.

President Maree Manly says it’s been a long process, with the idea coming last September but it’s wonderful to see it finally ready.

“It makes me feel really proud that we’ve been involved in doing this and it’s an exciting new project for women,” Mrs Manly says.

“It’s not so much empowerment but it’s skills, they can learn skills and also they can share their skills.”

The shed provides not only a social opportunity for the ladies in town but a hands-on one too.

“We’ve got one lady who’s a qualified carpenter so she can share her skills, we’ve got a Thai lady who’s going to teach Asian cooking,” she says.

Councillor Beveridge agrees.

“This is an opportunity to come and mix with other women and learn practical skills to fix things,” he says.

“It will enable women to learn about issues in their homes like fixes tap washers, fixing lawn mowers.

“We’re in a situation (in town) where people are becoming more and more independent and just last night we were out at Pentland and I was talking to a lady who is living on her own with no one to assist her.”

He praised Maree and the other women involved in getting the idea off the ground.

“It says a lot about the ladies who have gotten together to get the funding to make this happen and we’re very fortunate in Charters Towers that we have a lot of community leaders working for the benefit of the community,” Cr Beveridge says.

“I think it’s wonderful, any situation where you have members of the community taking control of a need and making their own solutions we’re more than happy to partner and be part of the solution.”

Mrs Manly says the shed will be an all-inclusive environment where important, potentially life-saving, skills can be learnt.

“We won’t just have women, there will be sons and partners involved, so it’s a bit different to the men’s shed there will be more aimed at including families,” she says.

“Teaching them how to change a tyre in their own car showing them where the jack is and the spare type.”

It’s skills women have historically relied on men to do and Mrs Manly says now they can continue to be independent but be safe and save money too.

“There’s a lot of young women that have had dad and brothers at home with them that have changed their tyres and maintained their cars, mowers and all that,” she says.

“They moved out of home and all those skills weren’t learnt so they had to pay tradesmen to come and do that.”

The AGM will be held on April 2 at 9:30am with workshops starting immediately after that.