Grant gives life back to Penola seating

HARD YAKKA: Penola Men's Shed vice president Baden Sharam and member Christopher Dean are preparing their tools to begin work on renovating the town's seating after receiving a People of Post Grant earlier this month. Pictures: TYLER REDWAY

Tyler Redway

THE Penola Men’s Shed is gearing up to spruce up the town’s seating to make use of a $2000 People of Post Grant they received earlier this month.

The People of Post Grants program has allowed members of Australia Post to nominate organisations working for their communities for grants of up to $2000.

In order to be eligible for grants, nominees needed to fit one of Australia Post’s four criteria which included mental health, environment and sustainability, Indigenous children’s literacy and learning and disaster support and resilience.

The Penola Men’s Shed was originally nominated for the 2024 round of the grant by Penola Post Office manager Praful Chandarana.

Mr Chandarana said he wanted to help support the local community organisations of Penola after he moved from his previous postmaster role in Victoria.

“When I came to Penola, I thought maybe we could help the local community organisations which are doing good for all of us,” Mr Chandarana said.

“Sometimes people are not aware there is a lot of support from government organisations people like the Men’s’ Shed are getting, so I’m very glad my efforts and the Men’s Shed efforts were successful so together the Penola community can get something special back.”

Penola Men’s Shed secretary treasurer Raelene Sharam said members of the men’s shed were beginning to notice the run-down state of seating in town, which could now be addressed with the aid of their grant.

“Members have noticed just in the last 12 or 18 months just how much the seats in the town needed work done to them because they looked a bit shabby,” Ms Sharam said.

“They don’t do the town quite justice at the moment, so we’re hoping this can help to enhance the whole area.”

Penola Men’s Shed vice president Baden Sharam said the grant would most likely be enough to service 18 of the 24 benches in town.

“There are 24 in total but a lot of those in the park and they’re ones that don’t really need doing,” Mr Sharam said.

“I don’t think we will have enough funding to do them all but then again, not all of them need doing.

“We’ll just do what we can, but I would say there would probably be about 18 we need to do up which by then the money will probably run out anyway.”

Mr Sharam said a majority of the timber used in the project would be donated by OneFortyOne, who had previously given material donations to the Penola Men’s Shed for previous works.

Penola Men’s Shed member Christopher Dean said it was “fantastic” to be able to give new life back to the Penola community, while also having a new project to focus on.

“I think it’s fantastic, we’re doing something great for the town and it helps to keep us busy,” Mr Dean said.

“There are so many things you can make but the more jobs we get through the town, then all the better.

“With Penola being a tourist town and with a lot of these seats sitting on the main walk, we hope people will notice them and think what a beautiful, clean little town this is.”