"Incredible talents" put to good use at Ipswich Men's Shed
A LOT of men in Ipswich owe former clergyman Dean Olafsen a debt of gratitude.
The 73-year-old is responsible for laying the groundwork to establish the Ipswich City Men's Shed, which has gone on to become a vital part of the community.
The shed, in Bundamba, offers a place for men to get together to socialise, share their skills and remain active in the community.
When it officially opened a year ago, only 12 members had signed up.
But since forming, the group has gone from strength to strength with membership numbers swelling to 120.
Mr Olafsen, from Coalfalls, said the establishment of the Men's Shed in Ipswich had been a passion of his for many years.
He said many retired, lonely or depressed people had benefited by having a place to sit and chat with like-minded people, stay active with hobby work and get involved in the community.
The group has been involved with building bench seats for residential aged-care facilities, the construction of a raised garden bed for a state school and restoring historic woodwork for the Ipswich Hospital Museum.
"Most of the members are retired and Ipswich has historically been a very skilled town," he said.
"We've got guys who have got incredible talents in woodworking, cabinet making, they've worked for the railway workshops, some of them have worked out of the RAAF base - there is a huge wealth of skills available."
In recognition of his efforts in starting up the Ipswich City Men's Shed, Mr Olafsen was recently bestowed with life membership into the Men's Shed.
Before that honour Mr Olafsen was also awarded with a life membership into the Men's Well Being Association (Qld) - an organisation he has been involved with for 25 years.
Mr Olafsen said it was humbling and affirming to have been bequeathed with the two life memberships.
"It's recognition of a quarter of a century spent giving to the community," he said.
For more information about the Ipswich Men's Shed, phone Roger Overell on 3294 6305 or email email@example.com.