‘Community haven’ Trim Women’s Shed celebrates first year in grand fashion

As Trim Women's Shed celebrated its first birthday with a hugely successful fashion show, there was more good news for the almost 300 members as their charity status has also been confirmed.

After noticing that following the lockdowns of Covid, it was difficult for many women to start socialising and mixing again, a small group of women undertaking the Women's Development Course in Trim Family Resource Centre decided to look at starting up a Women's Shed.

Efforts a few years earlier to do something similar were thwarted by the arrival of Covid and the founding committee, led by Caroline Smith, felt now more than ever it was needed.

The response when they initially launched on social media was hugely positive and it certainly translated into boots on the ground with over 170 women signing up on two registration days. This has grown to almost 300 members over the past year and new members are always welcome.

Around 400 women packed the Trim Castle Hotel on 22nd March for the Shed's first anniversary fashion show fundraiser with designer pop-up shop, a raffle and spot prizes.

Caroline told how the fashion show had started off an idea to get someone in from one of the boutiques to bring in a few outfits and have a chat about what kind of styles are in, but just like the Women's Shed, “it grew wings” and turned into a major event.

Many of the models who took to the catwalk were members of Trim Women's Shed and Caroline spoke of her pride to see them step outside their comfort zone and to so with such confidence.

She said the Shed has grown to become a “community haven” for many women and that to see how far their little dream has come was “amazing”.

“To see so many women walk into a room smiling is a joy but to see women walking into a room a little despaired and to see them walk out with a twinkle in their eye is indescribable.

Our members are amazing, we are a family, we laugh, we cry, we have our opinions but we know respect and we know compassion,” said Caroline.

“I for one, am so proud and honoured to be a part of this amazing Shed and I look forward to the adventures that lie ahead and to all the mischief that we can create amongst ourselves. Our door is always open to welcome someone new.”

Trim Women's Shed currently has three venues where they hold their activities-

The Living Hope Church on Wednesdays and Fridays, the Parish Hall on Tuesday evenings for choir practice and the bungalow at the Trim Family Resource Centre on Monday evenings. They run wide variety of workshops and courses such as yoga, pilates, flower arranging, life coaching, dancing, choir, book club, walking club, social outings and more.

“Whenever there is space and time available, we will book it and we will organise a workshop or activity,” said Caroline.

While they are hugely grateful for the support of the venues they have secured, she said their dream is to have their own home.

“We have been onto the local councillors about any empty buildings we see to see if they might suit us and we are looking out for our own home. We are so grateful for the support of the venues but if we had our own home, it means we could run more things and have it more open, because even if there’s nothing on, sometimes some of the women like to come in, and just have a chat.”

The Shed is open to women aged 18 and over and while Caroline said they don't have a lot of members in the 18-20 age group, they have a lot of women from the age of 40 up. It has opened up a whole new social outlet for many women who may have felt lonely or isolated and is a great way to make new friends and take on new hobbies and activities.

The 70-strong choir will take to the stage in the Swift Cultural Centre in May supporting Eimear Crehan and that will be a huge occasion for their members, many of whom have never sang in public before.

One member, Ann Murphy, of Effernock, Trim, spoke of what the shed means to her: “When I heard of the Women's Shed opening, I was so delighted, so on opening night I was nearly one of the first there. I am so delighted that I joined.

I have learned so much and have made wonderful friends.

“Our four ladies that started the Shed have worked so hard to bring it to where it is today.

No matter what you are interested in, they all make sure there is a class for you. You name it and they will do their best to get that class. I just love being part of the Women's Shed and I look forward to being part of it for many years to come.”