Podcast Episode 40. Everyone needs a Shed – a place to go, to be. But this Shed is much more than that,it is a space for people with additional needs to build independence and work skills and engage with their local community.

On this week’s Podcast we hear from Clive Harris, the founder of The Shed. The Shed provides a community-based education and training service to help adults with additional needs develop their independent living skills. The Shed also offers a range of clubs and events for people to build social skills.

Clive explains how, when The Shed began, he wanted a location that was in the middle of the local community so it became entwined with the community. Thus, it would become part of a broader, educational environment where everybody in the community learns about the people they support, and the people they support learn about the community they live in.

One of the primary goals of The Shed is to help adults with additional needs find employment. The Shed has a shop selling upcycled furniture. The students run the shop, manage the finance and administration, deal with customers and attend auctions to choose the items they’ll work on for resale in the shop.

Another training program focuses on independent living. The Shed has its own purpose built living spaces, specially designed to support the development of essential life skills, such as preparing healthy meals, shopping and budgeting and safety and security.

For anyone wanting to start a similar enterprise within their local community, Clive offers some advice on who to speak to and the importance of getting the right advice if you want your program to succeed.

The Shed is changing people’s perceptions in a local community, and showing just what people with additional needs can do when they are given the right opportunities and the support.