One of the biggest projects to come out of the Alexandra Menz Shed could be taking shape by the end of the year.

The group has raised $361,000 of the $400,000 needed to build its new workshop and meeting room, a move that would give its members almost six times more space to work in.

Menz Sheds, which are a nationwide initiative, create a space for men to work on projects, while providing them with camaraderie and a chance to talk, particularly about men’s health.

The Alexandra branch was established in 2013 and has about 20 members.

Plans for a larger shed in Alexandra, proposed to go behind the town’s toy library, next to the bike park, off Boundary Rd, would mean the group could utilise some of the equipment it does not have room for at its current location.

It would also have the capacity to double its membership.

Its existing shed is an old weatherboard building, which is in the same vicinity as the new build, but next to the ice rink.

Space has been an ongoing challenge for the group, something that was obvious as soon as you walked in the door, trustee Trevor Goudie said.

He hoped by November the new shed would be taking shape.

“We just need to close that funding gap.”

Secretary trustee Neil McArthur said the group was lucky it had a great climate in Alexandra, which meant a lot of the bigger jobs could take place outside, including a whare it was in the process of building for the Alexandra Kindergarten.

The existing Alexandra Menz Shed premises has an area of 66sq m, considerably smaller than the new building, which will be 350sq m.

It will feature an office area and space for morning and afternoon teas, along with space for doing heat-related work.

Extra space meant the group would also run days for women, youth and at-risk young men.

It might also host workshops for Vanuatuans who are working in the district’s orchards.

Of the projects worked on by members of the Menz Shed, 90% were to benefit the community, including pest traps for the Department of Conservation and Holyford Conservation Trust, grave surrounds at the Clyde cemetery, and picnic tables for the Keep Alexandra Clyde Beautiful group, St Bathans childhood centre, Community House and St Enoch’s Church.

It has also worked on signage for the Central Otago District Council and various other groups.

Although the Alexandra Menz Shed has a long list of projects under its belt, it was much more than just a workshop.

“It’s provided a lot of companionship among members,” Mr McArthur said.

Members spend time discussing men’s health, one of the catalysts for the group nationally, and that key factor was working, Mr Goudie said.

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