IT'S business as usual for the members of the Upper Hunter Men's Shed, according to Scone president Greg Newling.
The community-minded organisation, like many others in the region, was forced to shut its doors when the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic struck in March.
But, the gentlemen are relishing a return to their Oxford Street quarters again, buoyed by a recent $7155 grant from the Australian Government's National Shed Development Program.
"We've been back about three weeks," Mr Newling said.
"Although I must say it was tough to close everything for a while.
"Belonging to a guild, like the men's shed, is vitally important for emotional and mental health.
"Unfortunately, we couldn't meet up and some of our projects needed to be finalised at home.
"For example, John Pratley completed two rocking horses.
"And, we usually raffle one of them off every year.
"Now, we're continuing on as per normal.
"We are restoring an old horse-drawn bread cart; that's our main job at the moment.
"So, we've always got something to do."
Even though the group's been around since 2010, the Upper Hunter Men's Shed was officially opened at Scone, by then local member George Souris, in 2013.
It currently boasts a membership of 40, who meets every Tuesday (8.30am-noon) and Thursday (8.30am-3pm).
"We're pretty proud of our shed," Mr Newling said.
"There's a good range of trades and skills among the blokes.
"It's terrific to get-together, have a yarn and a laugh.
"I often tell people we just drink coffee and tell lies," he added with a grin.
The federal government recently introduced a new law that will make donations to men's sheds tax deductable, too.
What this means is, from July 1, anyone who contributes $2 or more to a shed can claim an income tax deduction for the donation.