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Shed Life began in October 2018 initiated by local resident Pam Dumbleton and Humourisk Artistic Director, Susie Miller Oduniyi. We want to create an accessible space 'shed' at the Sue Bramley Centre on the Thames View Estate, for men to connect, converse and create, providing activities chosen by the men to enjoy together. The purpose is to help reduce loneliness and isolation, to utilise the skills and talents that men can share with each other and create a project that is ultimately led by local men themselves. We also provide volunteer placements for local young people to support them back into education or employment.


We initially received £5k from Healthy New Towns (Barking Riverside London) to deliver Phase 1 of the project (October2018-March 2019), which included the engagement of local men and the community within a regular weekly drop-in workshop to form a Steering Group.


The steering group has gone from strength to strength, collaborating with the architecture department masters students at the University of East London (UEL) to design the shed guided by Alan Chandler Head of Architecture and Dr Paula Vandergert Senior Research Fellow Sustainability Research Institute, UEL. With help from Barking Riverside London we have gathered some amazing support from Morgan Sindall Infrastructure and VolkerFitzpatrick (constructing the Barking Riverside extension), who provided pro bono support carrying out a ground survey of the land and in  June 2020 we were delighted to be GRANTED Planning Permission.


During the past restrictions when we were unable to run our weekly drop-in we were pleased to receive grants from The Coronavirus Community Fund (The National Lottery Community Fund) and the Rapid Response Fund, Barking and Dagenham Giving, to continue to deliver a Peer Support Programme for our participants through these challenging times. This funding has allowed us to provide our steering group with online technical support and regular telephone calls and Zoom meetings and hold outside workshops to continue to connect and develop our plans for the Shed. We co-designed the shed interior with the MA Interior Design Students (UEL) during outside workshops at the local shopping parade and online student feedback session.


We have successfully raised £3000 through our crowd funding campaign and received other grants to contribute to the building of the Shed.

Funders: National Lottery, Healthy New Towns & Thames Talk (Barking Riverside London), London Borough of Barking & Dagenham, Trust For London, Creekmouth Preservation Society. In June 2021 we were pleased to be part of the second Thames Talk online poll set up by Barking Riverside LTD, where we received 42% of the votes by local people who chose to donate to our project. In November 2021 our bid for the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Neighbourhood Fund (NCIL) was successful. We continue to fundraise working towards building our bespoke shed, we hope to construct the shed.

Small grass roots projects like ours really can make a difference to people who are at risk of being left behind. Shed Life provides a locally led vehicle for men and residents to gain skills and confidence to have their voice heard, contributing to local conversations and opportunities.




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