Local community groups across the UK are today being encouraged to apply for a share of the Sheds Grant Fund as it opens again for applications to help support the set-up of community Shed spaces.

Sheds are community workshop spaces where people come together to take part in practical skills and activities. They are 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.

Older people’s charity Royal Voluntary Service, with funding from the Asda Foundation, run the Sheds Grant Fund to provide small scale funding to Sheds who are looking for help with either set up or next stage development costs.

Jo Phillips, Sheds Project Manager at Royal Voluntary Service said:  “Each Shed is unique due to its location and the activities that the members want to undertake in the space. Whether it is for woodworking, gardening, model making, weaving or electronics, we are delighted to be able to give a helping hand to local communities who want to get a community based Shed up and running.”

Julie Ward, Manager of the Asda Foundation said:  “The Asda Foundation is one of the many ways we can give something back to our local communities. That’s why we lend a hand to a wide range of good causes with which our colleagues are involved with, 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 grassroots level and are proud to support this initiative.”

The UK Shed movement follows a blueprint from an Australian project and since the first Men’s Shed opened in the UK 7 years ago, there are now nearly 400 across the UK opening their doors. Many Sheds are created to enable older men to come together and work on either individual or community projects – but the movement is increasingly seeing younger men and women getting involved and benefitting from the social interaction and practical skill sharing that are at their heart. 

The Sheds Grant Fund is ran in conjunction with the four national Shed Associations representing and supporting Sheds in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Jason Schroeder, Executive Officer of the Scottish Men’s Sheds Association said: “We are thrilled that by working together with our national partners we can support this kind of initiative to help benefit individuals, their families, and local communities.”

Since 2016, 45 Sheds across the country have been awarded funding to kick start or grow their ambitions.

Knighton Men’s Shed in Wales was awarded funds in early 2017. John Thorogood, Chair said - "The grant from the RVS Sheds Grant Fund has enabled us to keep our rented premises going. It also enabled us to purchase advertising and promotional materials to highlight who we are and what we do whilst attending local Carnivals, fetes and shows selling our hand made products and recruiting new members.”

Connor Sweeney from Rostrevor Men’s Shed in Co Down, said “The funds allow the Shedders to embark in using a whole new range of products, and will enable the men to learn new skills that they could not have had before without the funding to purchase these machines."

Mark Guildford, Chair of York Men's Shed said “The grant enabled us to obtain first aid supplies, training and insurance for our shed. It has been a long journey, but support from organisations such as the RVS / Asda Foundation Sheds Grant Fund have helped us bring the Men's Shed program to our city. Thank you!"

Grants of between £250 and £1,000 are available from the Sheds Grant Fund. All applications need to come from constituted, volunteer led community groups and must be submitted by the deadline of Sunday 24th September to be considered.

To find out more and to download the Application Form and Guidance Notes, please visit: the RVS and Asda Foundation Sheds Grant Fund website and follow @rvssheds on Twitter for regular updates.