As the Labrador Men's Shed developed, it became apparent that social isolation remains a big issue among older males at the Gold Coast.
Concerns about the effects of social isolation on men's health and wellbeing will increase with the rapidly aging population. In 2011, Gold Coast City recorded a resident population of 590,810 people; of those 109,384 were aged 60+. By 2031, this is age group is expected to increase by 89 per cent to 206,282.
Older males are often more at risk of social isolation than females, who tend to have a wide circle of friends and acquaintances and actively foster those relationships - when things go awry or their partners die, they have good support networks. Male mate ship, however, generally revolves around the workplace and sport or recreation. When they retire they often lose contact with work mates and fitness.
In areas like the Gold Coast, many retirees have shifted into units in multi-storey or studio-type complexes and no longer have their handyman, hobby or outdoor activity area. Fitness and mobility problems often prevent them from playing sport or other physical pursuits. This leaves them vulnerable to loneliness which can lead to depression, anxiety and other mental and physical health issues.
The benefits of social interaction are well known. Blokes Lounge offers a friendly and welcoming environment where men aged 50+ from all walks of life can get together, make friends, share stories and experiences and get involved in recreational and social activities. We give people options and opportunities to make friends, keep mind and body active and stay healthy.
Blokes Lounge Inc is an incorporated body with insurance for Lounge activities - and those conducted under our banner - covered under an agreement with Sports Underwriting Australia (AIG Australia Limited (AIG)).
We envision a safe, friendly and welcoming place where blokes from all walks of life can:
We value and respect all people, regardless of their ability, race, spiritual belief or sexual orientation.
We respect the opinions of others and value free and vibrant discussion but will not tolerate the preaching of religious, political or commercial ideals.
We do not tolerate loud, disruptive or abusive behaviour and language.
President - Ian Begaud
Secretary - Gary Guilford
Treasurer - Kerry King
Founder & Life Member - Ian McDougall
Ian has a strong background as a newspaper journalist and editor in Queensland and NSW as well as 19 years as a media and communications officer in Queensland Government departments.
Ian helped establish The Gold Coast Street Library for homeless and disenfranchised people. He was temporarily secretary of the foundation committee set up to establish the Gold Coast's first men's shed. Ian was a member of the Elder Abuse Task Force/Committee on Ageing, and later on the Gold Coast Seniors Regional Roundtable, helping develop the Gold Coast Seniors Action Plan, and was a victim representative for the Youth Justice Conferencing program.
Ian started the process to bring his vision for the Bloke’s Lounge to reality in early 2012. He has been honored with Life Membership of the Lounge and was selected as a Queen's Baton Relay carrier for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Previously Ian was involved in Apex, Neighbourhood Watch, Community Youth Support Scheme, Police-Community Liaison Committee, Shire Council Tourism sub-committee and the Australian Inland Fishing Championships. As a "ship's drover", Ian accompanied breeding cattle shipments to Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.