Category: | Workshop/Studio
This corrugated tin shed is the international headquarters of the charity Mary's Meals, which provides school meals for chronically hungry children in developing countries. This year the charity announced that it is supporting half a million children (now 526,000) helping them to get good nutrition and access to education - and it started from Calum's shed, which is why we think it should be 'shed of the year'.
The shed has been part of Mary's Meals story since its very early days. In 1992, Magnus MacFarlane Barrow and his brother Fergus decided they wanted to do something to help victims of the war in Bosnia. They collected donations (of food, blankets and other useful items) from local people, and drove out to deliver them. While they were away, more people made donations, and when Magnus returned, he found that his dad's shed (hence Calum's shed) had been filled up with more things.
From these beginnings a charity was founded that now works in sixteen countries including Malawi, Haiti and Liberia.
As the charity grew, it needed an office, but because keeping expenses low was a priority, Magnus decided not to rent or buy a base, instead, he set up the office in his dad's old shed - at one point he shared it with five other members of staff.
Today, Mary's Meals has 30 staff in the UK, and they would not all fit into the shed, so some work from a portacabin and office next door and some from Glasgow.
However, Magnus continues to keep his own office inside the shed (although it gets very cold in the winter and very hot in summer). This helps keep costs down, and it has sentimental value too, serving as a reminder of the charity's beginnings. The table in the shed is the meeting room.
The shed suffered some damage during this year's harsh winter, when snow started to leak through the roof. In wet weather particularly, it leans a little to the left and the door doesn't quite shut (though our friendly local joiner has promised to pop in and repair it soon). Calum's shed had a fresh coat of white paint last year.
If Calum's shed wins 'Shed of the Year' the prize money will be spent helping hungry children. A thousand pounds would allow Mary's Meals to provide a meal a day, in school, for 106 children, for a year.
Although the shed could not be described as luxury accommodation, staff agree that its inspiring location is second to none - with stunning views of Glenorchy and the surrounding mountains. Visitors often comment on its welcoming atmosphere. The shed has hosted high profile visitors including Hollywood star Gerard Butler and Dragon's Den's Duncan Bannatyne. Last year, Calum's shed featured in a film made by the international broadcaster CNN, after Mary's Meals founder, Magnus, was named a 2010 CNN Hero.
Year first entered 2011