Retired mental health worker Murray Trewavas founded the Toowoomba West Men’s Shed to give older men a sense of worth and friendship.
Mr Trewavas said they currently had 47 members and their membership had grown since they began working out of their Glenvale Road shed 4 years ago.
“We’ve got farmers, lawyers, doctors, a whole range of men who all need something to do,” he said.
“When men stop employment, a lot of their social network disappears too and this became an even bigger burden if their partner dies or becomes disabled.”
Member for Toowoomba South David Janetzki commended Mr Trewavas for his hard work which was also giving back to the community.
“These men handcraft beautiful wooden toys and donate them to our hospitals in Toowoomba which brightens the lives of our sick and injured children,” Mr Janetzki said.
“I am also currently working closely with the men’s shed on a project to build buddy benches for schools in Toowoomba South,” he said.
“It is great to see their expansion and we need to keep fighting for more facilities for the western suburbs of Toowoomba.”
Shockingly in Australia, men aged over 85 have the highest rate of suicide which is more than double that of teenagers.
The suicide rate for men aged 85 and older was 39.3 per 100,000 people according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2015 data.
Mr Trewavas specialised in older men’s mental health during his career and said the high rate of depression and suicide in senior men often went unseen in the community.
“The men love it here, they think it’s fantastic,” Mr Trewavas said.
“It’s the highlight of the week for the most of them – giving them something to do with their hands.”
The Toowoomba Community Baptist Church is a major supporter of the group and lets them use their shed on Glenvale Road.