On Thursday night our allotment shed was burnt to the ground. The fire was so fierce that neighbours called the fire brigade who had to stumble through woodland to put out the blaze and stop our Saxon roundhouse from also catching fire.

You might get the wrong impression, when you think of a garden shed storing a few tools and a couple of old flowerpots.

This was a lot more than a shed, it was what some youngsters called our tree shed. An outdoor classroom built over a 5 years with pupils on work experience, helping them gain valuable knowledge of carpentry and construction. With its wood burning stove it was a warm, dry space for volunteers to escape the rain. A place for pupils to carry on work such as carving and woodwork out of the cold. It was used for courses, talks and slideshows at our events. It was also where we stored all our food and cooking equipment used for making lunch for everyone on workdays and cups of tea throughout the day.

It was small things that you can’t put a price on that have been lost, like the two benches being built by pupils as Christmas presents for their mums.

So what now?

Before we even start to think about building another shed, we face the mammoth task of clearing up the site, rebuilding the fences, taking out some of the large damaged trees and replacing the tree nursery.

But we don’t know with what money and resources we have spare to build a new one. We are insured, but however much we get, it’s not going to be able to replace our project’s centre-piece anytime soon. We are only a small charity with one member of staff that relies on small grants, income from schools and a lot of goodwill from volunteers and supporters to survive. So we will have to look at budgets, beg, borrow and coppice from the woods and make plans for a new shed.

In the meantime we will have to quickly build a warm, dry structure to see us through the winter and dig into funds to buy new kettle, pans, plates….the list goes on.

So if you’ve got something lying around that you think we might need please get in touch or turn up this Tuesday 8th November and help with the clean up. Or think about making a small monthly standing order to support us. http://www.seedybusiness.org/donations.shtml