AUSTRALIA'S first multicultural Men's Shed will open in Waratah later this year, with building to start within a few weeks.
Vice-president of the Ethnic Communities Council in Newcastle and the Hunter Christine Jordan was confident there would be plenty of interest in the shed.
The council has already recorded at least 80 expressions of interest.
NSW Minister for Citizenship and Communities Victor Dominello visited the site yesterday morning to turn the first sod and signify the official start of work.
Men's Sheds are designed as places where men can congregate to work on hands-on projects and to socialise.
Newcastle MP Tim Owen said he believed the Men's Shed concept promoted good mental health.
He also hoped the Waratah shed would help men in the area feel less isolated culturally.
Mr Dominello also attended The Eastlake Youth Centre.
The centre has received a $100,000 grant to support its Youth Opportunities Program.
This caters for at-risk high school students in the area and encourages the building of healthy relationships.