When a Series III Land Rover was donated to the Murgon Men’s Shed by local South Burnett farmers, Tom and Julia Ashcroft, the MAVIS project was born.

The Land Rover coined ‘MAVIS’, stands for Mental Awareness Vehicle and Information Service. The dual purpose for MAVIS was to spark conversation at community events and provide information on men’s physical and mental health - helping to save lives and break down the stigma of men seeking support.

The inspiration for the MAVIS project was fuelled by Murgon Men’s Shed member, Mr Neville French, and his personal battle with prostate cancer.  The conversation he had with other patients during his cancer treatment highlighted that many of them had not had a full health check-up for many years. With many men having a ‘she’ll be right mate’ attitude, Neville realised that this could be understood from both ends of the spectrum - one of denial and the other taking action. We know at that point that the “she’ll be right mate” motto was a relatable message that MAVIS would carry to help start the conversation, and shift the dial from denial to action.

With the project costs funded by a community grant from the South Burnett Regional Council, the project provided all members of the Murgon Men’s Shed with a clear vision. The restoration journey created a sense of purpose, enjoyment, and comradery amongst the men.  

Neville’s keen interest to support those in drought affected communities, alongside collaboration with the Lifeline Darling Downs Community Connections program, enabled important drought information to be distributed via MAVIS, helping connect people to assistance and support services.  Free copies of PHN’s ‘Empowering Communities’ calendar were also provided. Discussions around on-going support for the MAVIS project include connection to on-going funding/grant submission, training/support for those manning MAVIS, and connection to community events/contacts.

As part of the Community Connections program, it is important to acknowledge the great work communities do in supporting each other, such as the Murgon Men’s Shed MAVIS project.  We acknowledge that through this project, members of the Murgon Men’s Shed help break down stigma around men’s mental health, support-seeking and delivering important information to drought impacted communities. 

We hope the story of MAVIS inspires others to do more for their communities, and we look forward to our continued collaboration with the Murgon Men’s Shed.

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