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Speech given by the Governor for the Annual General Meeting of the Victorian Men's Association

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What a pleasure it is to join you all for the Victorian Men’s Shed Association AGM.

As your Patron, I know the integral role that Men’s Sheds play in our community.

And, although I have not managed to spend time in all of your approximately 350 Sheds, or to meet all of your more than 18,000 members, I have now visited Sheds in different parts of our State and have met many of you there, or at Government House.

I have seen up close how your premises provide the opportunity for some to learn new skills, and for others to use lifelong skills acquired from successful working lives or hobbies.

I have seen too the meaningful projects that you often undertake: first, in volunteering to build, maintain and improve your own Sheds, but also through a variety of projects that contribute immeasurably to your local communities.

And I have observed your enjoyment from simply coming together, socialising and connecting. Recently, I think we have all realised just how much we need that!

Well, now, as we look to better times, I have no doubt that our Men’s Sheds will be an important part of the recovery throughout our State.

That has proven to be the case after other catastrophic events, such as bushfires.

We have seen how Sheds in affected areas have brought men together, and enabled them to help their communities recover, giving practical assistance and, at the same time, contributing to their own resilience and the resilience of those around them.

A testament to the strength of your organisation is that, despite the frustrations of lockdowns – with the physical isolation from loved-ones, networks and usual meeting places – so many of you have managed nevertheless to maintain contact with each other.

The publishing of VMSA’s first newsletter in September, and today’s virtual AGM are good examples.

Congratulations to everyone involved in their organisation, and more broadly to President, Trevor Dobbyn, Board members and CEO Derek O’Leary.

As well, I’d like to send my best wishes to your long-serving past President, now Vice President, Lindsay Oates, whom I understand is retiring from the Board at this AGM.

Finally, I wish everyone an enjoyable AGM today, and a happy and healthy year to follow.