Spotlight On: Angel Shed

Words by David Mabbott, Artistic & Executive Director

Can you give us an overview of your organisation?

Angel Shed is a charity specialising in inclusive performing arts for children and young people. We provide a safe space for children to express themselves, develop confidence, and grow into curious, creative, and courageous young people.

The differences Angel Shed makes in children’s and young people’s lives are varied. We carry out regular monitoring and evaluation to measure the impact of our work against these primary outcomes: belonging to a community; strengthened relationships; increased confidence and self-esteem; and improved skills.

We currently have over 100 weekly members, as well as reaching hundreds more each year through projects. Of our current members: over 70% come from low-income families and access our financial support, over 35% have special educational needs, are disabled, or are neurodivergent, and 65% are from the global majority. Continued engagement is a core element of our work, with 50% of participants aged 13-19 having been members for six or more years.

We have a core team of four (Artistic Director, Volunteer & Training Manager, Membership Co-ordinator, and Outreach Co-ordinator) with numerous freelance facilitators working across our sessions and projects.

What does your provision look like?

We run five weekly after-school sessions on Monday and Thursday evenings from our base in City & Islington College: Children’s Theatre (7-10), Dance Company (10-19), Music Collective (12-19), Youth Theatre 1 (10-13) and Youth Theatre 2 (13-19).

We are led by the ideas of our members and they are active participants in the planning, creation, and performance of our work; this allows our members to share and explore the stories, issues and topics that are relevant to them. We facilitate accessible activities for children and young people of all backgrounds and abilities: anyone is welcome to join; workshops are cost-free to those who cannot afford them; there are no auditions; one-to-one support can be provided.

We also run outreach projects in the community, with recent partnerships including Solace Women’s Aid, Andover Youth Club, and Richard Cloudesley Primary School.

Can you share a story of how a young person has been positively impacted by the work you do?

Joshua (name changed) is a Youth Theatre 2 member who has a learning disability. He has been attending Angel Shed for over 10 years. The following is a reflection from his parent/carer:

“I cannot write Angel Shed highly enough. He absolutely loves coming here which he has been doing for over 10 years. Angel Shed has always been Joshua’s favourite thing to do – the enthusiasm, passion, kindness, inclusivity, fun and the wonderful staff, how could it not be?

He’s learnt so much about independence, he has improved his confidence, speech, and life skills. Staff are so passionate, respectful, kind and fun. Attending Angel Shed has increased my son’s sense of self and belonging and when he was awarded the Jack Petchey award, voted for by his peers, he was absolutely delighted and was so proud, as I was.

Allowing us to pay what we can afford allows us to take part. As a single parent who doesn’t work it allows my son to do something he truly loves.

Angel Shed has had such an impact on our lives, enriching them beyond measure. It is the most amazing space, and you will always have my eternal thanks and gratitude. Long may it continue as it provides a secure, safe, welcoming inclusive space for children and young adults to express themselves. Thank you so much to Angel Shed and everyone involved. Words can’t express how much support it provides us all. It’s so special, supportive, and heart-warming. A big THANK YOU.”

How do you, or how would you like to, collaborate with other organisations or stakeholders in the youth sector?  

Partners in the youth sector regularly refer young people to join our groups, and vice versa. We are always interested in discussing collaborations and partnerships with other organisations, for example, taster workshops, so please reach out!

Angel Shed delivers inclusivity training with organisations across the UK. This offer is designed for those who are looking to work more inclusively within their staff teams or with service users. We create a bespoke package for each organisation we partner with and work to ensure we deliver training that best suits their requirements. Please get in touch for further information, or visit the training page on our website.

How can people get involved or support your organisation?

This year is Angel Shed’s 20th anniversary! We welcome donations to help support the next 20 years of our work and we are using this celebration as a springboard to launch more projects next year – watch this space!

We have a brilliant team of 35+ volunteers supporting our weekly workshops and we are always on the lookout for more committed volunteers to join us.

Find them around the web