The Inverclyde Shed


Completion Date:


Building owner/client:

The Inverclyde Shed

Architect or lead designer:

Kraft Architecture Ltd

Local Authority Area:


Nominating Body:

The Inverclyde Shed

Project Description

The Inverclyde Shed is a 100% volunteer-run charity with over 300 members that run community workshops and two community gardens to advance the social needs, health and wellbeing of people of all ages and backgrounds living across the Inverclyde area. Members meet, make, grow and share with each other and the wider community, tackling loneliness, and mental and physical health.

The community workshop project is located adjacent to central Greenock, Scotland’s most deprived area according to the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation, but this area also encompasses Greenock’s historic harbours, streets and warehouse area. East Blackhall Street which the community shed sits on was the historic cobbled street linking workshops and warehouses and the East India Harbour, built in 1805. Over the past two hundred years, shipyards and associated industries and trades grew up around the site and declined.

The area immediately around the site was heavily bombed during the Greenock Blitz, a name given to two nights of intensive bombing during the Second World War. The raids over the nights of the 6 and 7 May 1941 targeted the shipyards and berthed ships around the town. Over the two nights, 271 people were killed and over 10,200 injured. From a total of 180,000 homes nearly 25,000 suffered damage and 5,000 were destroyed.

The existing workshop space dates from this era, built immediately post-war around 1948, with a brick base course and steel frame featuring north-facing roof lights which gave the building a distinctive and iconic profile. It remained in use for over 50 years, hosting start-up manufacturing for British Polyethene Ltd who undertook some alterations to create a mezzanine. Latterly it was used for automotive recovery and repair, storage and eventually fell into disuse and council ownership for the past 20 years.

It was added to Inverclyde Council’s Register of Assets 2017 where it came to the attention of The Inverclyde Shed’s board in 2019 when the group was looking for a long-term home to host their community activities.

After discussion with the membership, a unanimous vote was taken to proceed with a Community Asset Transfer Request under the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 for the existing workshop and this was successful in May 2020 on the basis of a 25-year long lease at £1 per annum.

The Inverclyde Shed then appointed Kraft Architecture Ltd to progress a design in consultation with members and to manage the project towards construction. Funding was applied for through the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund for £800k to complete the works, this application was successful towards the start of 2021 and work commenced on the refurbishment of the building, retaining the existing brick base course and steel frame whilst inserting new accommodation including toilets, office, kitchen, classrooms and workshop space.

We officially opened our new community workshop in early 2023 with over 400 people attending. We are now open five days a week and evenings too, and with over 100 regular attendees getting involved with a wide range of activities, connecting with one and another and building a genuinely resilient community where they meet, make, grow and share.

Supporting Statement

Build and design quality

The project sought to re-use the existing steel frame and retain the distinctive roof profile that was much loved by the local community. A new transparent entrance was formed and additional rooflights were introduced to increase light levels. Where new accommodation was created, timber construction was used but with glazing to keep spaces connected with the heart of the building, the workshop floor. Energy-efficient lighting has been used throughout with solar PV and battery systems largely offsetting all carbon emissions and helping to create a sustainable running cost for the building.

Enhancement of local built environment

The building represents a fragment of Inverclyde’s proud history of making, from shipbuilding and associated industries through to manufacturing. The group sought to retain that rich history not just through the building itself, but as a testament to the many members who worked in these industries and recall the area in a very different state. The building has added a new dynamism to the area, connecting via audio trails to the East India Harbour and the Beacon Arts Centre.

Community Involvement

Community involvement has been and continues to be at the heart of our democratic management structures with a board made up of active members, regular meetings and an increasing membership from the Inverclyde community. Our members come from all walks of life, sharing their experiences and skills with each other and our wider community through repair work, community commissions and skills transfer events as diverse as sewing, upholstery, knitting, 3D printing, laser cutting, joinery, spoon carving, electronics, beekeeping, gardening and stained glass making all happening under the roof of the new workshop.


We were awarded Shed of the Year by the Scottish Men’s Shed Association in 2020 in recognition of our efforts to create a long-term home for our members and the impact we have had and continue to have on our local community. We work in partnership with many other third-sector groups across community gardening, making items for them from mud kitchens to boats. We have featured in National Lottery and Comic Relief campaigns as an example of excellence in tackling loneliness and building genuine community.

We recently won the Inverclyde Chamber of Commerce ICON Award for ‘Sustainability’ in recognition of our zero-carbon approach to our workshop, our use of an electric van, our recycling waste to composting and recycling/repairing furniture, clothes, materials and other items.

Through friendship over shared activities under one roof, we have reached over 300 people locally who were struggling with loneliness and mental health, “I’m in a much lighter, easier place to be now.” – Barrie.