Royal Voluntary Service wants local community groups to discover their inner ‘Shedder’ by applying for the latest round of the Sheds Grant Fund to support the set-up of community ‘Shed’ spaces as well as already established Shed projects.

‘Sheds’ are community workshop spaces where people meet together to take part in practical skills such as woodworking or electronics. They are designed and run by their members and provide opportunities for fellow ‘Shedders’ to join together to share their expertise and tools and have a good time.

Royal Voluntary Service partnered with the UK Men’s Sheds Association in 2015 to jointly support the development of Sheds across the UK as a way of tackling social isolation in older men. Research from Royal Voluntary Service found men’s social networks are generally based on their workplace and 51% of men over 65 years of age socialise a lot less once they have retired; 45% only socialise once or twice a month and 32% avoid socialising altogether.

Now in its third year, the Sheds Grant Fund, established by Royal Voluntary Service and supported by the Asda Foundation, provides sums from £250 to £1,000 to people who are either interested in starting their own community shed or want help with running costs for existing projects. While also open to women and men of all ages, the Sheds movement is mainly aimed at tackling social isolation in older men and all groups are required to be part of, or join as a condition of funding, the UK Men’s Shed Association when applying for the grant.

‘Shedding’ is a growing movement in the UK and data from the UK Men’s Sheds Association shows a rise from 164 open Sheds at the end of summer 2015 to over 450 now. Asda Foundation has funded 63 Royal Voluntary Service sheds in the past three years. Each shed decides how it is run and which projects members want to focus on.

"At Royal Voluntary Service we see sheds as an ideal way for older people to stay active in their local community as well as having a go at learning new skills. There’s a secret ‘Shedder’ in all of us and most people have a DIY project around the house that they haven’t got round to. Sheds provide an opportunity for people to get advice on all of those tricky jobs and build their confidence."

Abigail Hurrell, Sheds Project Manager at Royal Voluntary Service

"The Asda Foundation sees the Sheds programme making a real difference to local people. We believe in supporting people to learn throughout their lives and the rapidly growing ‘Shedding’ movement really helps people to blossom and fulfil their potential"

Annmarie Rocks, Asda Foundation Senior Co-ordinator

The Sheds Grant Fund is run in conjunction with the four national Shed Associations representing and supporting Sheds in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

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