Tool time at Ladies Shed

Villa Maria, Tuesday 3 September 2013

VILLA Maria’s White Road Activity and Respite Centre Ladies Shed program in Wantirna South is the happy recipient of more than $2,500 worth of donated tools including sanders, drills and grinders from Techtronic Industries Australia Pty. Ltd.

The Ladies Shed, which has been running for around two years, provides women who care for a loved one, whether a child with a mental illness or parent with dementia, with a vital social outlet in which they can connect with others in similar situations, and learn some new skills.

Mooroolbark resident Norma Shaw, who cares for her 96-year-old mother who has dementia, said she looked forward to visiting the shed each week.

“You’re there with people facing similar problems and it’s nice to talk to people who know where you’re coming from. It’s also great to be able to learn some skills at the same time. I’m interested in woodwork and have so far made a tool box, letterbox and a little wheelbarrow for plants.”

Norma said the shed provided her with important respite from her caring role.

“You do need a bit of your own time when you’re a carer. Mum’s not a problem, but when you’re on duty all the time it can get tiring. On the day I go to Ladies Shed, Mum goes to a day program so it’s nice not to have to worry.”

Villa Maria Carer Support Worker Ray Alexander, who also coordinates the Villa Maria Base Camp Men’s Shed, had been running a Horticultural Therapy Group for carers at White Road when some of the women participants expressed an interest in a Ladies Shed.

“A lot of the people they’re caring for were the ones who did all the handy bits and pieces around the house, which unfortunately they’re no longer able to do,” Ray said.

“So the need was there for the shed and so far it’s been very popular. The ladies dictate what they’d like to learn as it’s their respite time. I’ve taught them how to use a compound saw and a drill, they really enjoy it. I know most of the ladies because I’ve done horticulture with them so they’re all pretty comfortable with me. However if they need to discuss anything without a bloke, I can just disappear!”

Ray said the shed was “extremely grateful” for the donation of tools from Techtronic Industries.

“As a not-for-profit organisation, Villa Maria relies on the generous support of organisations and companies such as Techtronic to continue with many of its vital programs and services. These tools will go a long way in assisting the ladies with their much-loved projects so we thank Techtronic most sincerely.”

The Ladies Shed is looking for more carers in the Eastern region to join them. To find out more call 1300 650 615 or visit

Photos courtesy of Villa Maria