Like many staple organisations in the Forbes Community, the Men’s Shed has closed all activities and programs and are awaiting updates from the Australian Men’s Shed Executive for further advice.
Forbes branch President, Norm Hayley expressed his concern for the health and safety of Men’s Shed members in cancelling all activities until further notice. While the Men’s Shed provides an invaluable service to the community, Norm said: “We have to look after ourselves, we are concerned as we are in the wrong age group so we just can’t take the risk.” With tighter restrictions placed on Australian’s throughout the week, Norm and the Men’s Shed Executive’s will not have to make that call.
With many jobs in the Forbes community, and Australia, being lost, the kind of social and mental support the Men’s Shed provides is needed more than ever. Norm also stated that he is open to the possibility of utilising technology to stay connected with members. While they are not currently set up for online membership, nothing has been ruled out. What Norm made clear was that he and other members were fully supportive of the closures for the sake of public health, saying, “if we all keep doing our thing, it will take longer.”
While the changes made over the week may feel confronting, inconvenient and shocking, it is important for Forbes Shire residents and visitors to understand that the sooner people self-isolate, the sooner things can start to return to normal again. Despite age, health or simply boredom, it is crucial for people to stay at home as much as possible, there are far too many in the Forbes Shire who are at higher risk because of their age. Forbes’ location does not grant automatic immunity from the terrible virus so please be mindful of social-distancing and healthy practice when outside.