In a world often consumed by negative news and headlines it has been a breath of fresh air
for me to stumble across The Red Shed; a haven of possibility and warmth nestled within
our local community. The Red Shed was a place, until recently, I didn’t know existed, but
upon discovering this charity through a good friend, and seeing they were recruiting… to
me, this was meant to be – I had to get in on the action!
Hi, my name is Kayleigh and I am The Red Shed’s new administrator. Stepping into this new
role has been nothing short of a wonderful journey; the moment I walked through that big
red gate I was immediately greeted with a tapestry of welcoming smiles, a feeling of
genuine warmth all around the garden and right away I could feel a sense of belonging.
It hasn’t taken me long to discover that The Red Shed isn’t your average organisation, it’s
instead a community; a family bonded together by a shared commitment of kindness and
support. Everything we do here, is done “The Red Shed Way” and backed by the dedication
of individuals who help fuel this mission – the staff, the volunteers, the gardeners, and their
As my journey begins at The Red Shed, I already feel a great sense of pride. The energy and
passion that surrounds the garden has proven very contagious; discovering so many joyful
stories and acts of kindness that are woven into the fabric of this charity. My eagerness to
dive in and contribute has been met with open arms and I’m really looking forward to
getting stuck in with helping The Red Shed continue to blossom, to touch more lives, and to
spread more joy throughout our local community.
This month we were really pleased to work with the Family Volunteering Club who encourage children under 5 to volunteer. A group of young volunteers and their Mums came to The Red Shed and helped with a few tasks around our garden.
They were very good at picking up all the twigs and small branches from our woodland path. This is a great help as it makes it a safe path for people in wheelchairs or using walking aids. It was a lovely morning and some of our participants came along to join the fun.
It’s clearly never to early to start helping others, so well done to the Family Volunteering Club for setting up such a unique and wonderful project.
We are really pleased to team up with Hertswise to grow our Carers Cafe and build on the service we offer. We launch our new look Cafe on 1st August. We will continue to meet once a month and provide support, respite and information to anyone who is caring for someone with dementia. Many of our regulars have been carering for some time and have lots of tips to pass on as well as the understanding of a lived experience to share.
When circumstances change and those who are cared for go into a home or sady die, we continue to welcome the carer for as long as they need to come along.
Hertswise are contracted by Herts County Council to provide dementia services countywide. They are a brilliant organisation and we are looking forward to this team effort being a great success!
Building on the success of our open days last year, we decided to just have the one event and invite everyone we knew! The Mayor opened for us and we hosted The High Sheriff, several local councillors, representatives from funders, partners and other dementia services. Our volunteers, staff, trustees and participants were also there and brought along family and friends to show them what we get up to at The Red Shed.
One of the highlights of the was also an inspirational talk from Sue Stewart Smith – author of The Well Gardened Mind. She talked about the value of gardening for wellbeing and of how beneficial to everyone, getting out in the garden can be.
There was a garden tour, designed to highlight what makes our garden both accessible and dementia friendly as well as showcasing the work our Garden Clubs do. There was also lots of information about The Red Shed along with a raffle, refreshments and an oppotunity to get involved in a living art activity. All in all it was a huge success and a real celebration of the work and the community that is The Red Shed.
How wonderful to have received so much support from other local community organisations. This month we have been chosen as the Charity of the Year for Stevenage Grange Rotary, Fairview Road Residents Association and the new Mayor of Stevenage. Add to this Lessiters (the local chocolate factory…..this must count as a part of the chocoholic community!!!) and we have the backing of some fantastic people.
We have also received amazing support from individuals such as Rebecca Reeve, who completed a 1/2 Iron Man Challenge and raised £2205.38 – an incredible sum! Our CEO went to watch the end of the challenge and was blown away by the acheivment.
If you have been reading our blog you will understand how vital financial support is for us – so we really appreciate the time and work that others are willing to give to raise funds for The Red Shed, particularly when its individuals and small groups just like us. If you would like to join our supporters we have a donation button on our home page but embracing technology we love our QR code below, which will take you direct to our Local Giving page!
We have been looking at Values for The Red Shed and with input from our participants and volunteers. Values for an organisation are ‘the fundamental beliefs and principles that guide the work you do and the way you do it. ‘Values illustrate the culture and help promote cohesion and cooperation among your team’.
For us, our values set out The Red Shed Way – so that everyone who conects with us can tell what kind of an organisation we are.
So….using ideas and feedback we have chosen Support, Trust, Inclusion, Community and Kindness. Our team of volunteers, staff and trustees regularly demonstrate these values and we will aim to ensure that The Red Shed keeps these values front and center in everything we do.
Our values will now be proudly exhibited in our garden as well as on leaflets, the website and any other oppotunity.
The fact that they provide the acronym STICK was just serendipity!!
Today we have received the final comfirmation from the Charities Commission that our application to become a Charity has been accepted. We are now officially The Red Shed Project Charitable Incorporated Organisation – or to us and our friends we’re still just The Red Shed.
It has been a long journey and one that began back in 2018 at the very founding of the organisation. The reason behind becomming a Charity is to make The Red Shed more sustainable with a broader group of people running the organisation, bringing a variety of skills and expertise. Now we are a Charity we have a Board of Trustees. Fran Neville (our Board Chair) and Margaret Frost have been with us since the beginning and Trevor Brown and Tara Patterson who have joined the team more recently. We also have Rosemary Sherry as a Board Secretary, keeping everything in order!
We have lots of plans for the future including recruiting some more trustees and of course continuing to grow and develope our unique and wonderful service as a fully fledged Charity.
Our first QUIZ NIGHT to raise funds for The Red Shed work was an amazing success. We raised £847.14 on the night and some additional donations brought the grand total to £1178.54 – and all while having fun and eating fish and chips!
The Quiz Master was one of the carers who come along to The Red Shed and the whole evening was organised and kept running smoothly by a team of our volunteers. People joined us from the local school (who’s hall we borrowed for the night), the local church, the local community and lots of friends and families from all those involved with our project.
We also received generous donations from Tesco, Cinabar, The Forge and Stevenage Borough FC to add to our Raffle prizes.
All in all a good start to our fund raising program for this year and definately an event to be repeated!
2023 is here with all the promise of another exciting 5th year for The Red Shed. We have lots to look forward to and we have now got our Values to make sure that we retain all that’s good and important to our organisation in everything we do now and in the future.
Values in our organisation are about the standards we work to, our culture and what helps drive us forward – so they’re significant and not just words.
In recognition of their importance, we asked people involved with The Red Shed what Values they felt were a part of what we do. The final 5 have been decided on by a range of folk with different connections to the organisation.
So SUPPORT, TRUST, INCLUSION, COMMUNITY, KINDNESS are the values we have chosen and we will unashamedly STICK to them……
The team at The Red Shed have many talents and keep our organisation running effectively all year round. But…..we don’t always have enough time for all the maintenance needed to keep our Garden looking fabulous and sometimes we need a little help with things like using Excel Spreadsheets or making the best of Social Media.
We are very VERY lucky to have support from our good friends at Viatris – They are a global pharmaceutical company with an office in Hatfield. We have now hosted 3 volunteer days where teams of Viatris staff have given time to painting, clearing, digging and giving us some vital IT support. Their time makes a big difference to us and we are grateful to them all.