Some thoughts on Shed by some of our members' parents.

"On New Year's Eve 2004 we had a conversation with a doctor, who told us that it was time to start to think about turning off the ventilator for our week old baby. It was very unlikely that she would breathe on her own and that this would probably be for the best as her brain damage was so severe that if she did live she would not really have quality of life.

I remembered this conversation earlier this year when I watched Emma taking part in the Shed@ThePark production, My Twitterface. She had such a great time doing this - it was amazing to see her saying her two lines in front of everyone and to see her joining in with such enthusiasm and confidence, and being a real part of it all - no quality of life? 

Sometimes life can be challenging for Emma, and she can feel awkward and struggle to 'fit in', and can sometimes lack confidence in social situations and be reluctant to join in. But...not at Shed! Emma loves Shed. At Shed Emma is not 'assessed' in terms of her difficulties or her additional needs, she does not 'stand out' for being the one who falls over a lot and who can be difficult to understand - she is just Emma - a very relaxed, happy and confident Emma!
Thank you Shed!" 

By Joanne Beale

"Ever since my daughter Joanne, who has special needs, joined Shed@ThePark eight years ago, it has been one of the highlights of her week. 'Shed' provides an environment that welcomes and includes young people whether or not they have special needs, which in our experience is unique. Joanne feels that she belongs, she feels happy, accepted, secure and involved. As well as enjoying the singing, dancing and acting, she can join in knowing that her participation is valued.

When the time came for Joanne to be in her first show, I questioned the level of her involvement and was met with the response, "But of course she must be in the show!". The ethos of the company is always evident - that of acceptance and inclusion. The mentors actively encourage and support all the young people, building confidence in each member, everyone having a part to play.

As a family we all gain from Joanne's membership of Shed@ThePark - Joanne through her enjoyment of the activities, the social interaction and the friendships she has made and we as parents through witnessing her delight and excitement in everything connected with the group, the weekly sessions and especially the shows. She just loves being part of it all.

I hope that all who contribute to the running of Shed@ThePark feel rewarded and encouraged by their dedication. They have, in Joanne, one happy and enthusiastic member."

By Judy Pantridge

Shed - A Mother's Perspective

I'm dialling the number for the club that he's seen
He's been talking about it, so I know that he's keen
The voice on the phone sounds friendly and fun
"Yes we have spaces, how old is your son?"

So I tell her he's five, that he's funny and bright
When he smiles it's like someone's turned on a light
But then I must add, it seems only fair
That he's also disabled, and confined to a chair

The pause at the end of the phone says it all,
And before she speaks, my hopes start to fall,
"I wish we could take him...but it's out of my hands"
"It's okay", I murmur, "I quite understand".

It's a similar story for Beavers and Cubs
For creches and nurseries and holiday clubs
Does he need 1 to 1? Because our staff are too few
I smile a wry smile, I know he likes two!

But then I hear of a different club
Where he's sure of a welcome instead of a snub
At Shed@ThePark admission is FAIR
They rejoice in the child, they don't see the chair
So what does SHED do, that others cannot?
They don't do it for money, Mentors don't get a jot!
They're not looking for perfection, or the talented few
It's about "letting go", being free to be you

SHED gets under your skin, it gets into your soul
You're never alone, but are part of a whole
And as for the shows, where do I start?
Every child finds their talent, they ALL have a part

So on closing nights, when all has gone fine
And he's ready for sleep, but still on cloud nine
I kiss him goodnight, and tuck him in bed
Knowing he's wishing for a world more like SHED

By Gillian Reeves