Selfbuild or off the shelf shed?
The shed was in the grounds of Craig Lodge (a former hunting lodge) in Dalmally, Argyll, when it was bought by the current owners, so we are not sure. It is in the Nissen-hut style that is quite common in this area, so we think it might have been built during the Second World War.
Why have you got a shed? uses etc
The shed was initially used for storing tools, but Calum MacFarlane Barrow, the owner, loaned it to his sons Magnus and Fergus in 1992, when they were organising a local appeal for blankets and food to deliver to victims of the conflict in Bosnia and needed somewhere to store donations. Although the trip had been a one-off response, every time the brothers emptied the shed, it would be re-filled with donations, so Magnus took a year off work to continue delivering help for as long as it was needed – and people have never stopped giving.
As the work continued, an official charity (named Scottish International Relief) was set up, working with orphans in Romania and providing medical aid in war-torn Romania, and the shed became its office, a base for Magnus and volunteers who gave their time to help.
In 2002, the charity responded to the famine in Malawi, setting up a programme called ‘Mary’s Meals’ which provided school meals for chronically hungry children – drawing them into school and providing essential nutrition. Thanks to support from the public, this movement grew rapidly, so that in 2008 the name of the charity was changed to reflect its main work. Earlier this year Mary’s Meals confirmed that it is feeding more than 500,000 children in school (at an average cost of just £9.40 a year).
The shed’s is split into two rooms, one of which remains the Magnus’ office, the other a meeting room which also stores our archives.
Mary’s Meals has a commitment to keeping its overheads low, with 93p of every pound donated spent on its charitable work. We continue to use the shed as head office because Calum does not charge any rent for its use, and because of its role in the history of the organisation. It is a reminder of our roots and our commitment to spend as much as possible of donors money on the cause for which it was intended.
How would you describe your shed?
Bright, bendy and hospitable. The shed is made from corrugated metal with a wooden frame. It is painted white with a red roof and decorated inside with maps and images showing Mary’s Meals work around the world.
Who are your shed inspirations?
We have been inspired by the stories of all the sheddies entered in this year’s competition. Mary’s Meals is all about turning a simple start into something incredibly positive – and these sheds do the same thing!
Future Shed plans
The shed was leaking a bit in the winter, and the weight of snow on the roof caused it to lean to one side, so we hope to have some repairs done shortly to strengthen the structure and ensure everything is water tight in time for next winter.
What word would you use to sum up Sheds
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