A local community group in Stockport is celebrating today after receiving funding for its community Shed space from the Asda Foundation.

£1,000 has been awarded to Heatons’ Men In Sheds where people come together to take part in practical skills and activities such as computer skills, photography and woodworking. Sheds are community spaces designed and run by their members and provide opportunities for people to share tools, resources and skills in order to create, learn and develop social networks. They also help reduce loneliness and isolation.

Royal Voluntary Service, with funding from the Asda Foundation, established the Sheds Grant Fund in 2015 to provide small scale funding to Sheds that are looking for help with set up or early stage development costs. Grants of between £250 and £1,000 were made available to support the purchase of tools and equipment needed for Shed activities or ongoing costs such as rent or insurance.

Abigail Hurrell, Sheds Project Manager at Royal Voluntary Service, said: “Most Sheds are started by local groups coming together due to a shared interest in traditional crafts such as joinery, furniture renovation, metal work and mechanics. We are delighted to be able to administer the Grant Funds so that these skills can flourish in a friendly and sociable environment, and to support more local community-based Sheds to get up and running.”

Annmarie Rocks, Senior Coordinator at the Asda Foundation, said: “The Asda Foundation was set up to give something back to our local communities. That’s why we lend a hand to a wide range of good causes in which our colleagues are involved, sharing their passion and helping to make a difference through a variety of projects across the UK. We see the Sheds programme as making a real difference at a local level and are proud to support the initiative.”

Anthony Williams from Heatons’ Men In Sheds, said: “Heatons’ Men In Sheds is delighted to be a chosen recipient of the Asda and Royal Voluntary Service Grant for 2018. We are currently setting up a wood workshop for our members and the grant will allow us to fit a dust extraction system. Without it, members with respiratory problems would be excluded from our activities. Heatons’ Men In Sheds helps reduce the loneliness of its members by creating a space where they can connect, chat and create. Once the wood workshop is complete, we will be using it to give back to the wider community by building planters for green spaces, creating heritage signs etc.”

The first Men’s Shed opened in the UK seven years ago, following a blueprint from the Australian Shed movement. There are now over 440 Sheds in the UK with over 10,000 members and three new projects on average opening a week. Sheds began predominantly as places for older men to come together and work on individual or community projects, but increasingly younger men and women are getting involved, benefitting from the social interaction and skill sharing that are at their heart.

Claire Shelton of the UK Men’s Shed Association said: “We are proud to be working with Royal Voluntary Service to support projects like Heatons’ Men In Sheds which help benefit individuals, their families, communities and the thriving UK Men’s Shed movement.”

The next round of Sheds Grant funding has just opened. The closing date for applications is Sunday 24th June. Offers will be issued to successful Sheds the week of 23rd July.

To find out more about Royal Voluntary Service and Asda Foundation Sheds Grant Fund please visit: http://www.royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk/sheds and follow @rvssheds on Twitter for regular updates.


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