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Shed Life, is a resident-led project, they believe that everyone has the right to live a life that allows them to get on with LIFE; good health, independence, friendship, enjoyable social activities and new experiences. They deliver projects that bring people together, specifically residents who are experiencing isolation and loneliness.

Shed Life Drop-in

every Wednesday 10am -12pm

The Thames Community Hub,

Thames View Estate

Barking, IG11 OLG

All welcome,  pop-in and get involved!

Shed Life is a friendship network, that look out for each other. It is a safe space to learn and share skills, to build individual confidence and self-advocacy, to contribute to local conversations and to have your voice heard. Shed Life volunteers create new and interesting events and celebrations for their community, and specifically engaging residents who are at risk of being left behind. 

 

Shed Life began in October 2018 initiated by local resident Pam Dumbleton and Humourisk Artistic Director, Susie Miller Oduniyi, with the aim to create an accessible space 'shed' at the Thames Community Hub on the Thames View Estate. A space for men to connect, converse and create, with activities chosen by the group, ranging from from model making to wood-work, up-cycling to photography. The purpose was to help reduce loneliness and isolation and utilise the skills and talents of the men by sharing and learning from each other. 

 

The project initially received £5k from Healthy New Towns (Barking Riverside London) to deliver Phase 1 of the project (October 2018-March 2019), which included the engagement of local men to attend the regular weekly drop-in workshop and to form a Shed Life steering group.

 

The steering group went from strength to strength, collaborating with the architecture 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 the steering group gained support from Morgan Sindall Infrastructure and VolkerFitzpatrick (constructing the Barking Riverside extension), who carried out a pro bono ground survey of the land and in June 2020 we were delighted to be GRANTED Planning Permission.

 

During the 2020/21 restrictions 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 the Shed Life group.. This funding allowed us to provide one to one support to join online catch-ups, have weekly phone checkins and hold outside workshops to continue to connect and develop the 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 sessions.

 

We successfully raised £3000 through our crowd funding campaign and gratefully received other grants to contribute towards the building of the Shed; The National Lottery, Healthy New Towns & Thames Talk (Barking Riverside London), London Borough of Barking & Dagenham, Trust For London and Creekmouth Preservation Society. In November 2021 our bid for the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Neighbourhood Fund (NCIL) was successful and we received an additional £10k,  we raised a total of £21,000 towards building our bespoke shed/workshop space.

 

It's been a challenge and taken nearly 5years, we have had a series of obstacles along the way; finding affordable and sustainable building methods, the rising costs of materials and engaging corporate partners who appreciate the social value of the project. But we are finally looking forward to launching the brand new 'Shed' in September 2024, with a resident-led, weekly activity programme, an accessible space for the whole community to enjoy and most importantly a safe welcoming space to find a friend and have a cuppa!​​​

 

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