A bright idea that started in Australia, the Men’s Shed Movement, is now coming to North Kensington. The idea is to create a place where local adults, primarily men, meet to learn, teach, make, share and socialise. 

The idea identified by the energetic and popular Joe Batty of the Kensington and Chelsea Social Council (KCSC) and championed by KCSC, the Maxilla Men’s Shed will be opening soon. Working with KCSC the project has been made possible by funding and support from NHS West London Clinical Commissioning Group, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Public Health and Kensington and Chelsea Foundation. 

There will be a fully equipped wood workshop at ACAVA’s Maxilla Studios, located in the former Maxilla Children’s Centre. A series of open days will be held during August, details coming soon, and a full programme of training and open access sessions will be launched in September, including opportunities for women. 

RBKC’s Lead member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, Councillor Sarah Addenbrooke, said: “We are pleased to be able to support the body of work for the Men’s Sheds here in Kensington and Chelsea. The shed will supply a range of activities and provide a safe communal space for men to engage and build friendships with other members. The profound effect of loneliness and isolation has a devastating effect on men’s health and remains a public health issue. The Council is committed to reducing loneliness and encouraging and supporting social interaction.”

A dedicated Shed Programme Manager will support the community of users to grow and develop, working towards handing over the ownership and management of Maxilla’s Men’s Shed to the community in 2021. To support this aim, local people are being sought to join a Steering Group and for anyone who is interested to contact Isabella Niven lniven@acava.org.

Dr Oisin Brannick, Clinical Lead Self Care and North Kensington for the West London Clinical Commissioning Group said: “We know initiatives such as this bring people together to learn new skills and as a result improve people’s health and wellbeing, we’re delighted to fund this project and work with ACAVA, to make this project happen.

ACAVA, a dynamic arts organisation, has been based in North Kensington for the past 20 years. After the closure of the Maxilla Children’s Centre, ACAVA took the building on with a short-term lease (now extended to 2022) from Westway Trust. Today the building provides studios and exhibition space for 20 professional visual artists and during school holidays it is home to ACAVA’s flagship family learning arts programme, Flourish. It is expected that Maxilla Men’s Shed will be a wonderful addition to Maxilla Studio’s existing creative community and will open the building up even further for local people. 

Recruitment is under way for the role Programme Manager (Maxilla Men’s Shed) full details can be found: https://www.acava.org/about/vacancies. And to keep up to date with project development sign up to ACAVA’s North Kensington mailing list: https:/eepurl.com/c2zzvn

ACAVA was founded almos fifty years ago as an arts and educational charity. It manages a portfolio of 26 buildings, providing studios for almost 600 artists, mostly in London, but also in Essex and Stoke-on-Trent. The organisation offers studios, facilities, professional development opportunities, commissions exhibitions, open studios and a public programme of socially engaged community arts local to the studios.

Over the 20 years working in North Kensington, ACAVA has operated from purpose-built accessible studios, offices and community art space. During this time ‘enduring relationships’ have been built up with local people and community group, third sector and voluntary organisations to provide artistic opportunities. This work includes Flourish for Families; Art for Wellbeing and, in partnership, with Al -Manaar. the Grenfell Memorial Mosaic. 

Senior Programme Manager is Isabella Niven email: lniven@acava.org

www.acava.org Twitter: @ACAVAarts Instagram: @acava_arts


A Man Needs His Shed!