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  • Straight from the source – October 2020

    I admit I take a ‘glass half full’ approach to life. Some might think this is akin to viewing the world through rose-coloured glasses. On the contrary, I acknowledge the hardships and devastation we have confronted, and I know there is speculation about what lays ahead.

    In my previous columns, I have remarked on the power of the human resolve to overcome challenges and I remain firm in my conviction. Recently on the news, a story aired about a restaurant owner in the Melbourne CBD who served 2,000 dinners a week to people in need, such is the demand. In my own community I am seeing neighbours dropping off care packages and just generally looking out for each other.

    This is what communities do; they help one another; they work together; they listen.

    On 1 October, we commenced receiving applications for the newly created deductible gift recipient (DGR) category for Community Sheds. This new general category allows tax deductible donations to be received by sheds who meet the criteria. At a time when sheds are experiencing increased demand, everyday Australians and philanthropists alike have an extra incentive to make a donation and provide support to their local sheds.

    Community sheds (such as men's and women's sheds) are not-for-profit organisations that provide a range of activities for their members with the dominant purposes of advancing mental health and preventing or relieving social isolation.

    There are currently over 1000 men’s sheds operating in communities across Australia, and a smaller number of women’s sheds, with a steady growth in the number of sheds in recent years.

    Last month I noted that while change is unsettling it can provide unexpected opportunity. As I was preparing for this column, I recalled a conversation I had with a women’s shed member that highlights the benefits sheds make to the social fibre of our society. Barbara (not her real name) shared her story with me of retiring up north and, for reasons out of her control, ended up finding herself alone, isolated and not having the skills to do the things she wanted to be able to do. Intrigued, I asked what skills she was referring to and she said “You know, I never had to operate a hand drill or a chainsaw. And well, I don’t want to rely on someone else. I want to have the confidence to do it myself, for myself.”

    Truth be told, the more I spoke to Barbara, it became clear her involvement with the women’s shed was less about drills and chainsaws and more about connections and mental well-being; operating the power tools was just an added bonus.

    Over the last 12 months my team has been privileged to work closely with Executive Director David Helmers from the Australian Men’s Shed Association (AMSA). David has countless stories of the invaluable difference men’s sheds have made on the lives of ordinary Australians. I especially like the sentiments of thanks and gratitude AMSA receives from the families who also indirectly receive the benefits from sheds.

    As the challenges of 2020 diminish and we forge our path out of the coronavirus recession, community sheds like many other not-for-profits will also contribute to Australia’s recovery. We all play a part in the community.

    Remember to check out our website if you have a question. We continuously update our information to support not-for-profits. If you need further help, we are only a phone call or email away.

    Stay safe

    Jennifer

    Last modified: 06 Oct 2020QC 63851