news NBN Co has announced a collaboration with the Australian Men’s Shed Association that is aimed to highlight how access to fast broadband can help men “build supportive friendships and better connect with friends and family”.
The announcement comes ahead of Men’s Health Week, which will be held 13-19 June.
Called NBN Connected Sheds, the initiative will facilitate a connection between two groups of men in Maitland, New South Wales, and Ballarat, Victoria.
The groups are scheduled to meet up in a series of “Shed Sessions” held with HD video conferencing technology and will plan the construction of a “gazebo designed to benefit a local community”, NBN Co said in a statement.
The two groups will be under the guidance of expert builder Keith Schleiger — foreman on reality TV series The Block — and are expected to learn from each other’s construction and design expertise, while also “building friendships and to discovering new ways to communicate”.
“I’ve seen first-hand that men don’t like to talk about their feelings, but that just makes it even more important to tackle it head-on,” said Keith Schleiger. “As tough as I may seem on TV, I’m definitely a bit of a softie and sometimes the only way to deal with a problem is to talk about it with a mate.”
“The NBN Connected Sheds initiative is a great example of how access to fast Internet can give men the chance to reach out to other communities and connect with a much larger network of people and resources, no matter where they live or where they come from,” he added.
NBN Co cited research it commissioned which found that 48% of male grandparents aged 55 and older believe using the Internet has assisted them to feel more connected to their friends and family.
Furthermore, over a fifth of men in the same group (22%) agreed that using the Internet has helped them build friendships and overcome feelings of loneliness, NBN Co said.
“Connecting the Men’s Sheds to the NBN network has shown how men from all walks of life can come together to expand their respective networks in a positive and safe environment to learn from each other, form new friendships and contribute to the wider community,” said Professor John Macdonald, Director of the Men’s Health Information and Resource Centre at the University of Western Sydney.
“It’s initiatives such as this one, which highlight the importance of encouraging all Australian men to reach out to each other for support and companionship,” Macdonald concluded.
Men’s sheds are non-profit organisations that originally aimed to advise and improve the overall health and quality of life of men. They have since expanded to include anyone regardless of gender. The movement was founded in Australia but has since spread globally.
Image credit: Supplied by NBN Co