Women take over men’s shed

: Jocelyn Jacobs is setting up shop for a Tauranga women’s shed on Monday evenings at The Historic Village.

Tauranga Men’s Shed members are breaking their foundational rule. Women have been allowed inside to have a shed of their own – at least on Monday evenings.

The new women’s shed, operating out of the men’s shed in The Historic Village, is the latest addition to DIY Sheds Aotearoa Trust, founded by Jocelyn Jacobs.

Jocelyn says the trust is a national body that is focused on Rotorua and Tauranga. “It’s not the trust’s intention to run these sheds, just assist in their set-up and be driven by local people,” says Jocelyn.

“I moved to Tauranga nearly three years ago and was at the Tauranga Men’s Shed trying to get a tool fixed.

“David Harper, who was running the shed, said Tauranga desperately needed a shed for women, as women were always asking to join their shed.

“He said to me it was in their best interest to help. They gave us a copy of their health and safety management plan, which got us across the line with our three-year lease agreement for the Rotorua shed.

“I was actively looking for a building for Tauranga until two months ago, when I dropped in at the men’s shed and met the new chairman, Paul Christensen, who said that women were always asking for a space of their own, and when it could be available.

Men’s shed members, not used to the idea of women utilising their space, have been supportive of Jocelyn’s project.

“Paul told me that the men’s shed wants us to succeed. They gave us Monday nights to utilise all their tools, equipment and some of their wood.”

Jocelyn says the community reception to the shed has also been wonderful – from iwi leaders, council workers, community groups and churches.

“Research and the Covid-19 pandemic has proven that there is a need for community sheds that are inclusive and unique to the communities and the people that run them.”

Jocelyn adds that her shed, although initially set up for women, also takes men and people of all ages above 15.

“We’re still in the early stages of setting up. Our biggest need at the moment is for experienced volunteers who can supervise and teach the use of the tools and equipment, it doens’t matter if they’re a woman or a man.

“Until we have a core team we have access to a building, tools, equipment and some wood to work on small projects using mostly hand tools. Making pallet furniture, garden boxes and painting. [The] Biggest needed is people who want to be part of the organising comiitee, along with shed supervisors.

“The interest has been slow and steady and I have no doubt in my mind that the DIY shed tauranga is going to be hugely succesful.”

For more information or to register interest in the Tauranga women’s shed, head to the DIY Shed Aotearoa Facebook page, or contact Jocelyn on 021 065 8329.

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