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Barking men's vision to build a shed in Thames View is a step closer after £13k fundraising

PUBLISHED: 17:00 01 November 2019

Shed Life project members check out designs drawn up by University of East London architecture students. Picture: Andrew Brown

Shed Life project members check out designs drawn up by University of East London architecture students. Picture: Andrew Brown

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The humble shed has been a refuge for men to pot plants, tinker with tools or escape "her indoors" for generations.

Members of the Shed Life project's steering group. Picture: Andrew BrownMembers of the Shed Life project's steering group. Picture: Andrew Brown

And for a group of chaps in Barking their dream to build a wooden workshop wonderland where they can chat and create is a step closer.

Shed Life started a year ago when men from the Thames View estate got together with the aim of building their own meeting place.

But the plans go way beyond a run of the mill six foot by four foot shack with University of East London (UEL) architecture students, firms WSP Engineering, PLS Civil Engineering, Morgan Sindall and Barton Willmore all chipping in to help.

Susie Miller Oduniyi kickstarted the Shed Life project a year ago with Pam Dumbleton. They were both keen to get something up and running in a community which they say lacks places to meet.

Pam Dumbleton and Susie Miller Oduniyi. Picture: Andrew BrownPam Dumbleton and Susie Miller Oduniyi. Picture: Andrew Brown

"It's been amazing. The group has loved this whole process and the sense of achievement they're getting. But it's not a shed anymore. It's more like an outhouse where they will do model making, carpentry and photography," Susie said.

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Already the guys have met the UEL masters students who took along a model design to get their views about where the windows should go and what kind of access was required.

The group is getting a planning application ready to submit to Barking and Dagenham Council for the site which sits between the Sue Bramley Children's Centre in Bastable Avenue and a nearby community garden.

And to help towards the cost, the group has so far scooped £9,800 from the National Lottery and a further £3,000 from Trust for London, Crowdfunder and Barking and Dagenham Council.

The grass roots project is being led by a 12-strong steering group which includes retired University College London emeritus professor Andrew Brown, who leads photography sessions with the group.

On Shed Life's success, Susie said: "We have so much support because the project has been led by the men and it's their project. It's going to be a regular space for people to work on their own projects.

"There's so much potential," she added.

Follow the project on Instagram @shedlifethamesview or visit crowdfunder.co.uk/shed-life-thamesview

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