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Pemberton Men's Shed holds open house

MLA Jordan Sturdy presents cheque from government

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At one point, former mayor of Pemberton and current MLA Jordan Sturdy went an entire month without leaving his farm.

"If you have a farm, oftentimes you have a workshop, you have an equipment shed, you have your animals. There's always things to do," Sturdy said.

"When you have a purpose and you have things to look forward to it raises your spirits and it gives you motivation and it gives you a little bit of energy."

But not everyone has the means to enjoy such a sense of purpose, which is part of the reason Sturdy and the provincial government were happy to support the Pemberton Men's Shed through a $5,000 grant.

"I think it's a great thing. I think there's a need," Sturdy said.

It wasn't something that was on his radar until a visit from Marnie Simon of the Pemberton Valley Seniors' Society (PVSS), Sturdy said.

"It really became clear to me that this is a good idea, that there's a need for something like this, and we were happy to be able to contribute to a little bit of a kickstart for the organization," he said.

Sturdy presented the PVSS with a cheque at an open house for the men's shed on April 9.

With the men's shed movement starting to gain momentum, Simon said the open house was well attended.

"The guys sent out invitations to all of the seniors in our membership, but also to other groups in the community, and I'd say we had about 50 people come through," Simon said.

For now, the grand opening of the Men's Shed is tentatively scheduled for early May.

But before then, the PVSS has to finalize its tool-lending library.

"The money that Jordan Sturdy gave from his budget, that's to help with getting that tool lending library open by buying what tools they need that haven't been donated, and possibly buying a big tent so that that can be the workshop area beside the tool lending library," Simon said.

While the PVSS is still looking at more permanent spaces for a workshop, the social side of the Men's Shed will be housed three days a week at the Pemberton Youth Centre.

"What we hope will happen is that through almost osmosis there might be some intergenerational things happening," Simon said.

"We don't want to push it and we don't want to intrude on the youth, but it would be lovely if they took an interest in some of the things and vice versa."

That intergenerational exchange could end up being one of the most worthwhile facets of the project.

"There is centuries and centuries of life experience there and stories to tell," Sturdy said. "One of the comments I heard (at the open house) that I thought was very interesting was that the tool that is often the most useful in the men's sheds is the kettle.... it's getting that pot of tea going or cup of coffee, and the discourse that goes around the table is what keeps people motivated or interested."

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