Supporting the older generation

Funding level: £10,001 to £25,000

Description

The Broadstairs Town Shed is an existing community-led project, inspired by the world-wide 'Men's Shed Movement'
The project supports older people in Thanet, one of the most deprived areas of Kent, with amongst the fastest-growing aging population in the UK.

Our aim is to help alleviate loneliness & isolation for primarily, but not exclusively, older men, through engagement in woodworking, carpentry and community-focused payback activities.
We also provide Health & well-being messages, support, information & other learning activities: computer classes & other crafts.

We have converted the old Tram Shed in Broadstairs into a spectacular woodworking, carpentry & metalworking workshop through hard work, many volunteer hours & support from our local community & funders.

Approximately 60% of our existing users have some form of mobility issue, ranging from arthritis, breathing difficulties to asthma & the side effects of diabetes.
Whether they have a recognised disability or reduced mobility as the result of their age, so many find our stairs challenging.
We already have 2 members who cannot use stairs at all, and frustratingly for everyone, have had to ask more than 10 potential members to bear with us while we try to raise funds so they can become active members.
Our workshops are on the ground floor, which is fine & we have made provision for all abilities within the workshop.
However, a key part of the Shed's guiding principle is sharing skills, stories, & socialising, & we have created a wonderful space on the first floor, only accessible currently via a flight of 20+ stairs, along with an accessible toilet .
In this break out room, our users can relax & many, many friendships have already been created.
When converting the building, we knew accessibility was key, but as we did all the work ourselves on a shoestring, all we could do was leave a space where an accessible lift to be installed once funds rasied.

Shed started in a tiny space 3 years ago, but soon demand outstripped that space.
In late 2015 we were given the opportunity to refurbish & inhabit part of an industrial unit by a local Sculptor, keen to engage with a community group .
This space is 10 x the size of our original, & enabled us to open up The Big Shed to many more people.

As a self-funded, independent project, supported by members fees and one off grants from supporters, we knew as a priority we had to complete the workshop itself as Phase 1, to allow for huge demand to join the project locally.
We made the difficult decision to defer installation of a lift to Phase 2. to get the new space launched.

We would dearly love your support for Phase 2 : the installation of an accessible lift.
We have over 120 members, are open 3 days a week, most sessions see at least 20 people involved in woodworking, wood turning, carpentry & metalworking.
Our members range from 55 – 86.
As they age, more will of course experience reduced mobility.
We want to ‘future proof’ the project & ensure members aren’t stopped from coming at a time when they need it most : if they lose mobility, they are more at risk of isolation, depression & loneliness.

Everyone except our part-time Co-ordinator is a volunteer.
We have 8 volunteer 'Shed Heads' who manage the project, supervise activities & drive projects we do with local organisations, supporting people with Mental Health issues, plus our programme of inter-generational activities with schools & FE colleges.
We upcycle items, & hand make 'Shed products', which we sell at local fairs to help fund our running costs.

Here's why the Shed is SO important:

"Before joining the Shed I was inactive and bored, I attended the doctors totally depressed on at least 6 occasions. Since joining the shed I have changed beyond belief. I have something to look forward to and enjoy doing. Help is always on hand if needed from a very helpful group of friends. Anti-depressents vs the shed No Contest!

Broadstairs Town Team Ltd

Location: Unit 3 Oakwood Industrial Estate, Dane Valley Road, Broadstairs, Kent, CT10 3JL

Our amazing volunteers have achieved so much together.
We received 'Heart of The Community' award by public vote in 2016.
Many friendships formed, & a wedding!.
The difference making, sharing, laughing and in turn helping a community has on individuals lives & mental health is unbelievable.
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