There are some great ideas coming out of the Park Ridge Men’s Shed.

Alan Aldridge has floated his fair share of those in his time there.

“We drink lots of cups of tea and solve all the world’s problems, but no one listens,” he said, with a wry smile.

Therein lies the charm of their work.

As the Men’s Shed, they are serving an important role in curbing isolation and the health issues that come with it among senior men.

They are also solving some of the lesser-known community problems through manual arts and charity work – often without the wider community realising.

“It’s all voluntary work so it doesn’t cost us much, and some good work gets done,” says Men’s Shed member Clive Jacobs.

The Men’s Shed team recently put the final touches on their latest project for a foster carer in Forestdale.

“This is not a fancy gate, but it will be practical,” Mr Aldridge said.

The gate is for foster care mum Maria Whatley.

Men’s Shed team hard at work on the new gate

“It’ll be a great help to keep little ones safe from getting out in the yard,” said Ms Whatley.

“We live on a 4-and-a-half-acre block, so the patio will become a small child and baby toddler’s play area so they can’t actually go out and get hurt.

“It will be such a great help even though it’s just a set of gates.”

Ms Whatley has fostered 86 kids in 10 years and has become the forever home for two of them, including a 16-year-old who has cerebral palsy.

“We took him on when he was 6-years-old, and he’s recently turned 16,” she said. “He’s got multiple disabilities that means he needs 24/7 care.

“He can’t do anything for himself and he’s non-verbal.”

Men’s Shed member Clive Jacobs is touched by her work, noting how she stepped forward to look after the young lad when no one else would.

“It’s heartbreaking, a human being that nobody wanted and she’s taking care of him, and of course she has other foster kids as well,” he said. “What a beautiful person.”

“It’s a good story all around and what Australia needs at the moment is good stories.”

The Men’s Shed is currently in need of quality sheets of plywood to make new projects. If you can help them, call Clive Jacobs on 0490 332 892.

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