Chuck Neathway was busy working on a wood carving project Tuesday (Oct. 26) morning at the new Men's Shed location on Clearwater Station Road. (Stephanie Hagenaars/Clearwater Times)

Men’s Shed opens its doors in Clearwater

After almost two years, Clearwater’s Men’s Shed is finally up and running.

Led by Ray Harms and Bob Foulkes, the group is now opening the doors of their shed on Clearwater Station Road every Tuesday and Thursday at 9 a.m. to offer a space men in the community can go to work on hobbies, have a chat and just get out of the house.

“A lot of people don’t have any space to do anything,” said Foulkes. “This way, they come down and get things going, even if they just come down for a coffee.”

The idea for a Men’s Shed in Clearwater came from District of Clearwater councillor and coordinator for the Wells Gray Seniors Society Lynne Frizzle in early 2020. She wanted to bring something to Clearwater that was more male-focused after noticing most of the activities put on for seniors would have a majority of women attend.

The men needed a place where they could go, she had told the Times.

After some research, she found Men’s Sheds, a program that is found all over the world. Frizzle spoke to a few men who could lead the group, and after more than a year of COVID-19 restrictions and hurdles, Clearwater’s Men’s Shed is in operation.

Harms said the group has been going for about three weeks, but there’s still lots to do, such as setting up an account for grants and building work benches and shelving for tools and other equipment.

“We’ll really get going once we get some funds and have somewhere to put the things,” he said.

The group is focused on completing projects for the community, said Harms. One idea was to build little libraries all over town.

It’s also a place where men can collaborate on a project or problem, for example, if someone is trying to fix a lawn mower and just can’t figure it out, said Foulkes, bring it down to the shed and the group can figure it out together.

“There’s always people that know a little bit about something and can help people out,” he said.

Over the last few weeks, the Men’s Shed has had about four to five men visit each day they’re open. Some just pop by for a quick coffee and a chat, but a few have brought down their projects to work on because they lack the space at home.

Marshall Milligan recently sold his home and moved into one of the new units at Evergreen Acres. A downside is he has little space to do his hobby, which is wood carving. Now, Milligan heads down to the old district office in the Flats where the Clearwater Men’s Shed is now set up, and he can work on his carvings, with enough desk space for a book and lamp, and enough room around him to make a mess.

“This gives him an opportunity to carry on and do what he does,” said Harms. “Trying to do all that at home, it’s kind of hard.”

The Men’s Shed is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. until about 4 p.m. As the program grows, they hope to extend their hours. While the program may be geared towards those who are retired, Foulkes said all ages are welcome to stop by.

“Young guys can come in and probably learn all kinds of things from a lot of these guys,” Harms added.

For more information, pop by the shed at 132 Clearwater Station Rd (Centennial Hall) during open hours or call Ray Harms at (250) 674-2331.

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