According to the 2018 Australian Loneliness Report, one in four Australians reported feeling lonely each week and one in 10 lack any social support. Many of us haven’t any meaningful relationships that help protect us against ill health.
More of us live alone, whether by choice or because we’ve lost a partner. Work practices such as working from home mean we have fewer opportunities to get involved in sports or other community activities, or to connect with work colleagues. We shouldn’t ignore the importance of the water cooler chats, the work groups or the team collaboration.
Mental health – in particular, men’s mental health – has long been an issue in Australia. The problem was exacerbated by the global financial crisis, with many men out of work through downsizing (‘rightsizing’ in corporate speak) or redundancy. Many were forced to retire earlier than they’d have preferred.
Women tend to have a network of friends on which they can draw for support. Most men, unless they’re actively involved in sport or a community group, don’t have the same options.
Connecting with others in The Shire
The Shire has always had a strong sense of community and belonging. However, that doesn’t mean that everyone feels included. Fortunately, The Shire is blessed with a variety of community groups that provide meaning and social support.
The Australian Men’s Sheds Association:
Community sheds, catering specifically to men, began as a movement in Australia with its origins going back to the 1980s.
The Sheds were designed to give men somewhere to socialise, to do meaningful work that contributes to our communities, to share skills and to connect with other men. They combat social isolation by fostering a sense of community and provide valuable information on health and wellbeing.
Recently the Sheds movement has opened a women’s shed (in Quakers Hill); however, this shed is more about empowering women to feel confident about making minor household repairs rather than for emotional support. Women (especially older women) are more likely to seek social support through exercise groups, volunteering or getting involved with the family.
The AMSA sheds closest to Caringbah South are located at:
49 Liverpool St
Contact: Greg Walker 0409 326 595
199a Parkes St
Contact: Michael Croft 0413 401 522
30 Recreation Drive Barden Ridge
Contact: Don Rothnie 0409 820 815
76 Carwar Ave Carss Park
Contact: Pat Murray 0407 434 254
For other sheds, visit the Australia Men’s Shed Association.
At Engadine, the Bosco Men’s Shed operates independently of AMSA. For information, call Brian Cox 0412 079 692 or email email@example.com
Other community groups in Sutherland Shire
There are many local community groups to keep you busy, from adult learning to volunteering or simply friendship. We’ve chosen to highlight just a few of these. For organisations that focus on fitness, see our previous article covering fitness tips for the over 50.
St George and Sutherland Community College
Meet up with others who share your interests. The College runs over 400 courses in 30 venues across Sutherland Shire. Chose from leisure courses like art, and photography to more vocational-type courses like computer skills and first aid.
127-129 Sutherland Road, Jannali NSW 2226
02 9528 3344
Open to retirees, this organisation is all about ‘Friendship, Fellowship and Fun’. You’ll find Probus clubs at:
Coote.firstname.lastname@example.org | Lynda Coote
email@example.com | Geoff Duvall
Mariemann4@icloud.com | Marie Mann
For other Probus clubs near you, visit the Probus website.
Rotary is a network of people who work to find solutions to social problems across the globe. In Sutherland Shire, you’ll find six Rotary clubs.
Get in touch by mail or email to see how you could help effect lasting change:
Rotary Club of Sutherland Inc.
PO Box 265 Sutherland NSW 1499
Downsize to a community
If clubs and classes aren’t your thing but you feel the need to contribute in other ways, there’s always the option of moving to a local retirement community with all its attendant activities. At LOCATION, we can help you sell your current home and advise you on your retirement village choices. Get in touch with us today.