Shed start on the Isle of Barra, Outer Hebrides

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    Hi Folks,
    Thank you for allowing me to ask questions. We have a shed on the island and the local voluntary group which nominally own it are happy for a sheds project to go ahead. What I need is advice on how to proceed. I have a number of old men (myself in that group!) who have skills that are largely unused. But how do we go about getting money for a startup? I have spoken to our local Scottish Health Council member but she does not disburse money. Can you tell me of anyone who would be prepared to offer us a startup fund? Many thank, Peter Colledge, Isle of Barra HS9 5UR Tel: 01871 810577


    Great that you are thinking of setting up a Shed in such a remote location – just what the community needs I guess.

    The Royal Voluntary Service have developed a model to help set up Sheds and whilst it doesn’t offer money, it does provide insurance cover for activities and other support to help set up. Contact Kate Gordon, the UKMSA Shed Development Manager – email: to be put in touch. I’m not sure if we have yet got a volunteer Ambassador that covers the Hebrides, but Kate will also put you in touch with your nearest.

    My own Shed was started with a grant from our local Parish Council so it may pay you to ask if they can provide some form of community grant. Does the Scottish Government have any funds that support retaining community organisations in the Highlands and Islands. Worth also approaching organisations like the Lions Club. if all else fails, get your group together, invite contributions and from this, making stuff to sell that will raise money. My own Shed are now self-supporting just from fund raising and weekly contributions towards running costs from members (suggest around £3 – £5 per week) also help. Start small with making bird boxes and garden planters before attempting larger projects and then you will find out if you are all able to work together cohesively. Approach local shipping agents for broken pallets which can be re-purposed and its easy money. We give away our timber off-cuts for fire lighters in return for a Shed donation.

    Another suggestion is set up an online fund raising request. One of the sites on the web which you might consider is

    We also set up an excellent fund raiser through the Easy Fund Raising website. By registering your Shed as a recipient, you encourage Shed supporters to use the online retailer sites accessed through the Easy Fund Raising portal and in return, the Shed receives a small percentage sum. My Shed has so far this year raised £92 and that’s just a couple of us using sites like Amazon, John lewis, e.bookers and many more. Again, its easy free money. I’ve also partnered with a local company that pays money for recycling ink cartridges from printers.

    There’s a lot of truth in the saying that there’s no such thing as a free lunch, but I hope I’ve demonstrated its entirely possible to get a start and provide on-going funds. You just have to search around to find sources of funds. Hopefully, these suggestions will help and give you food for thought.

    With best wishes,

    Paul Egerton
    Volunteer Ambassador – North Home Counties Region and Shed Secretary, Men in Sheds West Bletchley

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