The innovative community space is a vibrant hub within the Arthur Rank Hospice and the wider community, offering a refreshing programme of volunteer-led activities.
Arthur’s Shed was funded through a generous gift left in a Will and opened its doors at the same time as the Hospice – within its landscaped gardens – in November 2016. Inspired by the Men’s Shed movement, the studio room was integrated within hospice’s design as a non-clinical space, where people connected to the Hospice and the wider community can come together to share skills, learn something new and socialise.
Project Coordinator Jan Wilderspin was recruited after a grant was secured from The Big Lottery Fund, (now called The National Lottery Community Fund), to develop the initiative further. Having been in post since August 2018, she has cultivated a diverse time-table of volunteer-led activities which are open to everyone, including the Hospice’s patients, their family members, staff, volunteers and the general public. She comments:
“Arthur’s Shed has always been a popular space, but within the last 6 months it’s really come into its own, with people coming along each month to enjoy everything from carpentry in the Men’s Shed to tapestry, sugar craft to model railway, still-life drawing to health information sessions, watercolour painting to T’ai Chi.
“Our ‘Shedders’ have really enjoyed themselves: many have commented on how relaxing they have found the sessions; some have even found that their confidence has increased. Arthur’s Shed has become a real hub of the Hospice. We have met a wonderful cross section of the local community and it has added value to the lives of those who already knew of us, as well as introducing the Hospice to people who had never previously walked through our doors.”
Between ten and twenty sessions are held every week, thanks to generous local support and grants, with Arthur’s Shed collectively welcoming 100 people each month. As well as providing a safe, warm and friendly venue where volunteers share their time and talents, the community space has played an important part in helping the community see what Hospice is really like.
Dr Lynn Morgan, CEO at Arthur Rank Hospice Charity, adds:
“When we were designing the new hospice, we were determined that we should have these spaces which are open to the wider community, like Arthur’s Shed, our Bistro and our Education & Conference Centre. So many people have no idea of what a Hospice is really like and – inevitably – as soon as they step through our doors, their fears disappear as they realise what a warm and special place Arthur Rank Hospice is. Now we just need to find some fabulous volunteers who will champion Arthur’s Shed, support our Shedders and continue to progress its place in the Hospice and the community.”
The Big Lottery funding of the Project Coordinator role will finish at the end of 12 months in July. Having established strong foundations, Jan’s final challenge is to recruit a team of volunteers who she will support to take over responsibility for Arthur’s Shed. Volunteers are invited to apply now and will be appointed as soon as possible, in order to ensure a smooth hand-over.
Arthur’s Shed Administration volunteers (offering 1-2 hours per week) will release the monthly calendars, liaise with activity sessions leaders and provide them with support, assist with marketing and help recruit attendees. Arthur’s Shed Buddies (offering 2 hours one morning or afternoon per week, fortnight or month) will be on hand during weekly sessions to meet and greet participants, support the running of sessions, provide hands-on support to activity session leaders and oversee health and safety.
These roles offer some exciting opportunities to develop and grow the community space further, raising its profile and supporting the Hospice as it integrates more fully with the local community. Individuals will be encouraged to use their own experience, ideas and talents and collaborate with the entire Arthur’s Shed team, in order to shape how the project moves forward. To find out more about either role, or to apply, please contact the Voluntary Services team on 01223 675872 or email [email protected]
Those interested in attending ‘Shedder’ sessions, can download the activity timetable for the month at https://www.arhc.org.uk/arthurs-shed.asp. All sessions are open to anyone and everyone but need to be booked in advance. A small donation of £2 towards the activity would be appreciated which is collected on the day.
For further information or to book a session, call the Hospice’s Reception on 01223 675777 or email [email protected]