Social shack opens in Sands End to give young people a place to chill

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Image caption: Image 1: Julie Cavanagh (pictured centre), with Cllr Asif Siddique (pictured left) and Matt Campion (pictured right)
A new ‘social shack’ – a mini youth club where young people can make friends and be themselves - has opened in Fulham.

The innovative new project is run by SEAPIA (Sands End Associated Projects in Action).

It was opened last month by SEAPIA manager Julie Cavanagh and Cllr Ben Coleman, H&F Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care. Take a look at our collection of photos from the day.

“Congratulations to the young people who worked so hard to open the social shack,” Cllr Coleman said. “It’s a great resource for Sands End and yet another fantastic project from Julie and her team.”

SEAPIA raised an impressive £38,000 for the new project on H&F Hive, the crowdfunding service started by Hammersmith & Fulham Council to enable local organisations and residents to raise money for community projects. The council contributed £10,000 towards the social shack.

The young people in Sands End also baked cakes to raise funds as they sought to replace the ramshackle cabin that once stood on the site.  

“The youngsters liked being a part of it, they got involved and now they really see it as ‘their’ shack,” said Julie, who explained that it was an especially important meeting and bonding place for children at around Year 6 of primary school - a sometimes vulnerable age at the transition to big school, when friendship issues can be a problem.

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Image caption: Image 2: Cllr Ben Coleman (pictured right) talks to a group of children about the social shack

The social shack is a log cabin divided into two separate spaces for relaxing - one for children aged 3 to 7, with books, toys, a play kitchen and big cushions. The other half is for young people aged 8 to 13 that has a chillout space with beanbags, music equipment, games and books. 

“It’s a safe place for them to hang out,” Julie said.

With after school clubs and holiday programmes for disadvantaged youngsters, community gardens to encourage veg-growing and children’s cookery classes, she has built SEAPIA into a successful and hugely valued service.

Julie recently won the best Community Organiser Award in this year’s Hammersmith & Fulham Civic Honours for her sterling work at SEAPIA for the Sands End community.

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Image caption: Image 3: Cllr Ben Coleman (pictured centre)

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