A COMMUNITY group which works to empower isolated Barnsley women of Barnsley is being used as a case study at a West London university to explore the positive impacts of cultural groups for older people – but a lack of funding threatens the group’s future.

The She Shed Association, which brings together women through pottery, card making, paper crafts, quilting, needlework, bead artistry, patch-working and wood work, has been chosen by Dr Busayawan Lam of Brunel University as part of her studies.

Dr Lam identified that the majority of maker space groups in the UK are targeted at men, whereas Barnsley’s She Shed Association is a space specifically for women, making it quite unique.

“Our research project is looking for maker space case studies in the UK to find out how does a space make people more creative,” explained Dr Lam.

“It’s a very unique, very interesting and very good environment for women here at the Barnsley She Shed.

“Most maker spaces are specifically for males but here it is something very unique for women and it gives them a chance to think about themselves and put them first.

“This research is a case study for us to learn how the She Shed is run and what it provides for people and how the work done goes back into society.

“We’ve been talking to participants here and they say that it is something worth spreading across the UK. One woman even said to me her relative was very jealous about what she was creating here and that it’s such a good place to come.”

However, the She Shed is in need of funding and only has enough money left to last another few months. The scheme has previously been funded by the Big Lottery and the Royal British Legion but now more money is needed to carry on.

Project co-ordinator at The She Shed Association, Sandra Potesta, said: “Right now we are looking for funding to help. We are hoping that the council will help us as it’s something we’re doing to help the people of Barnsley.

“At the minute we’ve only got enough funding to last us another few months so we are going to apply for a Big Lottery Fund again.

“The She Shed is used to empower women to make beautiful things that they are proud of, which also gets them out of a depressive situation.

“It’s somewhere for women to go and something for them to do and it gives them a sense of purpose and it helps them find a space for themselves where they feel safe and can express their emotions.”

The She Shed is located at the Worsbrough Dale Pavilion and runs on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 11am until 4pm.