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OUR HISTORY

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The Shed Project

Youth and Community Centre

Phone:

01851 704557

Email:

Address:

11 Francis Street, Stornoway

Isle of Lewis, HS12NB

Established:

May 20th 2014

I’m often asked the question, where did The Shed Project come from? The answer is two fold. Back in 2006 when I came to be the minster of Martin’s Memorial, we organised our first Christmas Giving Tree initiative. The idea behind this was that we would partner with local agencies (Alcohol and Drug Support, Homelessness, Social Work, Hebrides Alpha, Women’s Aid, etc) in getting basic information about individuals and families they were working with. We would then pin these details on a Christmas Tree in our church and invite our church family to take away one of the slips of paper with the details and return them to the church with Christmas gifts they had bought. We would then deliver the gifts to the agencies who would distribute them to their service users. In the first year we gave our over 90 gifts. In 2020 it was over 160. So in the 15 years that we’ve ran this we’ve given away close to 2000 gifts to people in our community. A simple way of us expressing our love to people. At the same time, it was an important step in opening the eyes of the people in our church to see that there were people in our community who faced challenges and had real needs. And that we could all do our little bit in helping meet some of these needs.

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HEART BEHIND THE PASSION

We've always had a strong youth work element to our work as a church. We were keen to develop this further to support youth in the community who were facing various challenges. At the same time, we were keen to build better bridges with the agencies we were partnering with though our Giving Tree initiative. We knew that it was proving to be a negative when engaging individuals who we could support and journey with, that our only option for meaningful face to face contact with them was to invite them to church. We had a growing desire to provide a neutral space where we could meet with people where they were at, and with no expectation whatsoever about them attending church. All our community engagement runs under the banner of ‘No Strings Attached!’ The Shed would become the main way for us developing and growing this crucial aspect of our work.

VISION INTO REALITY

We began planning and fundraising towards the new building in 2012. The land on which it is build was very kindly gifted to us with a generous donation to kick-start our fundraising campaign. The new build would cost £270,000. We raised a third from our own church family; a third was raised externally (grants and trusts); and we secured a grant and loan from The Church of Scotland General Trustees for the final third. Fast forward two years and we have plans in place and have secured the services of a local builder. As The Shed building takes shape were then left dumbstruck by a series of events that led to the building being opened in May 2014 by His Royal Highness Prince Edward and his lovely wife Sophie. A remarkable and fitting end to a remarkable journey. The Shed wasn’t just vision becoming reality for Martin’s Memorial and our surrounding community, it literally had a Royal Seal of approval.

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Story of the Shed Project

2006-2011

2011

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Martin's Memorial Church

Prevalence of addiction struggles in the community
Giving Tree initiative in the Martin's church family
Abundance of Friendship and Community
Need for a neutral space
Sanctuary refurbishment starts in 2009

Youth Work Development

Actively looking for new space in Stornoway
Building worth £25k gifted together with £10k cash start!
Put the message out to the community 'We want to engage with you!'

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2012

The Vision:

To go from a 1 day a week service church to 7 days a week serving church
Looking to raise £270k from funders, Martin's and Church of Scotland.

HERE WE ARE NOW

The Shed has enabled us to move from being a ‘one day a week service church to being a seven day a week serving church’. It houses all our Youth and Schools work, and our developing Community Work. The building is also used by other partner organisations. Our mission statement sums up the heart behind what we do - ‘Serving our community to the best of our ability!’ Our hope, our heart, is to continue to do that for many years to come.
 
Rev Tommy MacNeil (Martin’s Memorial)​​​​

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