So here I am sitting on a plane to Canberra with my twin boys, I am finally sitting still long enough to introduce myself to you. For those of you that haven’t heard yet, I took over as President of the Coolum Women’s Shed at the special AGM on the 2nd September. (Full Minutes and Accounts from the AGM will be posted on the website this week). I feel like we have already met in a way as I have been doing many of the Facebook posts, events and queries as well as the Instagram posts.
My family and I have lived on the Sunshine Coast since 2012, before that I worked in London in the finance industry and then as an occupational therapist. During my time in Australia I have mainly been looking after my children. In 2016 I studied Visual Arts at the TAFE and fell in love with ceramics. I then became the social media coordinator for the 2018 Noosa Open Studios.
My involvement with the shed started in March when I started coming to the yoga classes at Research Street. I was in the middle of bathroom reno’s and I needed a way to keep calm and relaxed whilst living on a building site. I hadn’t been to yoga for years, but I loved the gentle classes, and met some lovely women. Before long I was turning up and people were asking me for an update on the reno’s – I knew if I made it to yoga I would manage the rest of the day with a smile on my face. The more stress I had at home, the more classes I came to 😊. I started to get to know a few of the other women in the classes and the teachers and wanted to help get the word out so I met with Fiona (the President) and started helping with FB and Insta.
What I love about the yoga with the Women’s Shed is that it feels like anyone can have a go – sometimes we nail it, and sometimes we collapse in a heap and there are always a few laughs along the way.
After a few months doing social media for the shed I felt like I was very much behind the screen, and not really involved in the day to day running of the Shed. So when the opportunity arose I put my hand up to become the Classes and Workshops Manager. Since June I have been involved with getting a public roster on Facebook and the website and setting up new classes and workshops. We have had lots of interest in running activities at the shed, but I was still doing a lot of the social media posts so it’s been a bit of a juggling act between booking things and promoting them.
With this role I started to understand more of the administration needed to set up the events online, including getting to grips with our bookings system and website, and got to know some of the other people volunteering for the shed. I also experienced some of the pressure we were under to pay our lease. I was working every spare hour I had to try and get things booked in, and it wasn’t sustainable, and if we’re being completely honest – not what I wanted to be doing with my time! I certainly wasn’t planning on volunteering for the Presidency 😊. But I really wanted this beautiful organisation to continue and build upon the hard work that so many people had already put in.
So when I volunteered to take on the role of President it was on the basis that I would be looking to take us out of the lease at Lysaght Street. It is a beautiful property but it doesn't suit our long term needs in terms of workshop space, and we are not making enough money to cover the lease in the shorter term. The financial burden has weighed heavily on many of us and has meant that we have felt pressure to try and make money rather than focus on the key aims of the shed. This is why we are leaving the current shed on 19th October.
I would like to extend thanks to the Coolum Men’s Shed as we will continue to offer our regular weekly classes and other events at the Research Street Community Centre. We will be looking for a permanent home but are very happy to have somewhere in the meantime.
Once we have completed the move I plan to implement monthly meetings at the shed for everyone involved in the day to day running. General members are also welcome to attend. Details coming soon.
Many of you know how much work Fiona has put into the Shed, and I would like to thank her for her efforts. She has taken on many roles as well as that of president and she will still be involved in the shed. She is actually having a well deserved holiday as I write this!
The first two weeks have been hectic - we've run a Sausage Sizzle at Peregian Originals, coordinated supplies for the emergency services attending the bush fires, found a new tenant for the shed, found a temporary home for us and I've managed to meet with many of the current volunteers. We have also been planning quite a few other things that will be happening in the future. We couldn't have done any of this without our amazing volunteers. If you are interested in taking on one of our management roles, we have jobs descriptions listed here:
However if you are happy to help with smaller jobs, please keep an eye on the website and our Facebook group: Women's Shed Volunteers
Don't worry if you don't have time to help out - why not just come along to the shed and start with a nice relaxing yoga session? Who knows - you might end up as our next president ;-)
If you have read this far – thank you! I will save the rest of my news for the next post or this will never get published! If you would like to get in touch please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org (Getting a personal email address is on my to-do list 😊)
This is me on the far left with some of our other amazing volunteers at the morning tea held at Buderim Men's Shed to celebrate the introduction of Deductible Gift Recipient Status for Men and Women's Sheds in Australia.