WHEN Croydon resident Dorothy suddenly found herself in the position of no longer having a 'handyman' around the house, she took matters into her own hands.
Dorothy is one of many women attending weekly sessions at the Villa Maria ladies' shed program at the White Road activity and respite centre in Wantirna.
Villa Maria carer support worker Ray Alexander, who runs the ladies' shed and the longer-running Men's Shed, and said it was a great place for women to learn some new skills, particularly if their partner had died and they needed to learn to fix things around the home, or if they were full-time carers.
"A lot of the people they're caring for were the ones who did all the handy bits and pieces around the house, which unfortunately they're no longer able to do," Mr Alexander said.
Dorothy joined the ladies' shed for that very reason.
"When you don't understand things when tradies come around, you can feel very vulnerable," she said.
Dorothy can now use a variety of power tools and is building a storage box for her tools and outdoor entertainment cushions. "Now I've got the confidence to use the tools at home. And we've learnt tricks of the trade, like using clamps, to help us working by ourselves."
Another shed patron, Norma Shaw, comes in to to hone woodworking skills she began as a child and take a much-earned break from caring for her 90-year-old mother.
Norma, 67, regularly drops her mother off at day care and heads down to the ladies' shed for a couple of hours.
"It's really good because mum is in day care and you can go and it's your time.
"I don't have to worry and I'm home by the time the bus drops her home."
The group has already learnt how to make some basics together, including a tool box and a planter, and now Mrs Shaw is building a letterbox for her home.
The women agree the group is a wonderful support base, though they don't necessarily spend time talking about situations at home.
"Sometimes carers need time for themselves," Mrs Shaw said.