The Journey

The Journey

Spring 2019

In Spring 2019 St James Parish Church Council took the decision to repurpose the redundant Scout Hut to serve the local area as a community workshop – the ‘Horsforth Shed’. Years of disuse and decay meant that considerable renovation was needed to make the building serviceable. For almost three years volunteers have given their time to help renovate the old scout hut.

A core team of volunteers worked alongside others who were not in education or employment making savings in excess of £50,000 of costs, due to their hard work, and the donation of materials or services. There were three phases to the project, firstly to complete the necessary remedial work, secondly to renovate the building internally and externally, then finally to fully equip the workshop.

Planning permission was granted in July 2019 with the drawing for the application completed professionally by a volunteer.

All detritus were removed from the cellar and the building itself. This was a job in itself filling three skips with endless runs to the recycling centre. The kitchen wall and one toilet wall were removed. External drain channels were installed to stop the ingress of damp. Door openings were widened as necessary.

WOODWORK. The ceilings, redundant timbers, damaged flooring and rotten joists were removed and the extensive woodworm was treated by a local company for no charge.

ELECTRICAL: All electrical cables and appliances were removed.

PLUMBING: Pipe work, sinks and toilets were removed.

GAS: The supply was capped off and all gas appliances removed. For environmental reasons, we are following the trend to move away from gas fired heating

ROOFING & GUTTERING: The old asbestos roof was professionally removed. It was found that the wooden purlins supporting the roof also needed replacing. Guttering was completely cleared of infilled concrete.

ROOFING & GUTTERING: The insulated roof was fitted with new steel purlins and integral skylights. Guttering was cleared and relined with a butyl membrane with a 25 year guarantee. The building was finally watertight.

PLASTERING: All internal walls were skimmed and painted.

WOODWORK. Due to wet rot and woodworm infestation some joists and flooring needed replacement. All other woodworm was treated free of charge by a local company. Door frames were fitted and new doors installed. A loft ladder was fitted to access the loft area above the toilets and entrance hall. In the workshop space a new sink unit was installed. We completed a glazed partition to create an area to eat and socialise and completed installing the kitchen.

FLOORING Waterproof Vinyl Click Flooring was fitted throughout the building with matting in the entrance hall.

ELECTRICAL: All the electrical work was completed. For safety reasons the lighting included escape lighting to allow safe exit should mains power fail. For environmental reasons we fitted low energy electrical lighting. This work was undertaken by a professional electrician who offered his services free of charge.

HEATING: Thermostatically controlled electrical heaters were fitted throughout the building with local water heaters at both sinks. All these items were donated by a national construction company. To reduce energy use we intend to install a wood burning stove and externally insulate the walls.

PLUMBING: The plumbing to sinks, washbasins and toilets was completed. The building was made accessible for wheelchair users and was fitted with an accessible toilet. All sanitary ware and washbasins were donated by a national construction company.

EXTERNAL WORKS: To improve access a raised pavement was laid with tarmac put down in the adjacent car park area. We have also paved a patio area and insulated and rendered the porch.

EXTERIOR CLADDING: The building was insulated and clad with durable fibre cement cladding boards and a new exterior wall was built.

Phase 3 –Equipping the Workshop

We received free professional advice on workshop layout and took receipt of donated work benches, storage cupboards which were refurbished and repurposed by our volunteer team. We received some generous donations of tools and equipment. Finally we bought several larger pieces of machinery to complete the workshop.

Our Supporters

All this would not have been possible without a huge amount of support and encouragement from a wide variety of sources. So a big thankyou to:

  • Our team of volunteers (whether skilled or unskilled – but always willing!)
  • Our individual financial donors. Some smaller amounts and some reaching four figures but each donation much appreciated.
  • The professionals who have given of their expertise free of charge.
  • The companies who have supported us with donations of equipment, expertise or finance.
  • The various organisations and charities that have generously made donations.

The Grand Opening

On Sunday 25th July 2021 we officially opened the Horsforth Shed. Due to delays caused by the COVID pandemic there was still some remaining work to be done but this was completed before the end of November.  It now has a new life serving the local community by beginning to engage with wide range of groups through workshop activities. To facilitate this, we have appointed Richard Hamlin as part-time Shed Manager who will co-ordinate a team of volunteers to support the project.

We have charitable status with trustees to oversee the operation of the Shed and a Treasurer to manage our own accounts. In compliance with charity law our accounts have been externally examined and reported to the Charity Commission. Our report for last year can be seen at