No longer is the shed the domain of men. All will be welcome to tinker on a project or simply gather for card games at the new Hughes Community Shed.
Nestled between Hughes Primary School and Community Centre, the new shed has been in the planning for five years and was unveiled on Wednesday.
While the Hughes Community Shed will have men-only sessions, the steering committee see it as a place where men and women will be able to gather, socialise and pick up some new skills.
"Historically the men's shed movement has always been about providing a venue for retired, older men to spend time together and the emphasis has been on trying to fill isolation and mental health issues," committee member Bill Barker said.
"That's an important aspect, but I don't think we see that as being our primary focus."
"The intention is to establish connections with all the other community organisations and just use it as a place where people can meet for whatever reason, to either play cards, or build things or repair things."
Council on the Ageing ACT chief executive Jenny Mobbs identified the need for a shed in the area when she began her role in 2015.
ACT Property Group came on board to contribute labour and $200,000 towards making the shed a reality.
Meanwhile the council is supporting the steering committee as it gathers equipment, seeks grants and builds membership.
"There will be woodwork and metalwork and also we're hoping to open the shed a few days per week for the older women around here so they can have a social group, have a cup of tea or do craft work if they like, or do nothing and just meet their friends," Ms Mobbs said.
"It's a very ageing population here. Hughes, Curtin and Garran are significantly older areas of Canberra."
The ACT has 14 registered Men's Sheds. The Hughes Community Shed is the first to be established in the Woden area and one of a few communal workshops to accept women.
ADFA cadets were involved in the construction of the new shed and it's hoped veterans' groups will be involved with the project.
Ms Mobbs said it had been a particularly tough year for older people who faced further isolation during the coronavirus pandemic.
She said the ACT government took too long to get important public messages out to older people who did not rely on social and digital media to access information.
The good news is that older Canberrans have been reaching out for help in greater numbers this year.
"In the past month of phone calls, we took 500 more phone calls than we did this month last year," Ms Mobbs said.
"So people are reaching out and the telephone has been their way of communicating."
The steering committee has been collecting and sorting out hundreds of donated items from Hughes residents who have cleaned out their own sheds.
Once water and power is connected the shed will host an open day and create a roster of activities.
"It will evolve and it will be what the members make it," Mr Barker said.
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