Who we are
Shed Life is a grass-roots project that has been set up by local people in Thames View Estate in Barking. The idea came from local resident and activist Pam Dumbleton who has lived in Thames View for over 60 years. Pam wanted to build a purpose-built shed for men to share hobbies and skills, to get men and young people more active in the community. We are a growing group of local men and young people, friends and supporters who have a shared ambition to build a special place 'a shed' where men can be at the heart of the community and find friendship and a support network while learning and sharing skills and talents.
What we are trying to do
We want to build a community space for men, and young volunteers to converse and create, providing activities chosen by the men and young people 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 programme of activities that are led by local men themselves.
The Shed Life group has a weekly community drop-in where all are welcome to get involved. The group have been collaborating with the architecture department at the University of East London (UEL) to the design the shed and we have gathered some amazing local support from local companies who are providing pro bono support with surveying the land and laying the concrete foundations. We now have the final designs for the building and we are in the process of working with UEL architecture students who are helping us to prepare a planning application. We have successfully raised some funds from the National Lottery for materials to build the shed, which the men will do with support from volunteers, but we need extra funding for decking and ramps to make sure the shed is wheelchair accessible.
Why Shed Life is important to the local community in Thames View
The weekly drop-in has become an important local support network where the group feel safe to bring issues and get support. We are a point of contact for local people who have complex health needs and who are experiencing loneliness and isolation.
Thames View Estate was built in 1954 and is on the fringes of a huge regeneration programme in Barking Riverside, there is a real opportunity for local residents to be central to the development of our estate and small grass roots projects like ours really can make a difference to people who are at risk of being left behind.
According to Public Health England Barking and Dagenham has the lowest life expectancy rate for men in the London Region, we want to provide local health related activities for men to make positive changes to their own health. A local space for men to find friendship, will support their physical and mental health and directly improve men's lives and opportunities and contribute to our fantastic community here on the Thames View Estate.