‘A great feeling of equality’ at D7 women’s shed

Not seeing friends and family during Covid took a toll on everyone and had serious effects on the mental health of people all over the world.  

Cabra woman Niamh Lynch-Livsey noticed in particular how hard it was hitting women. In an effort to address the issue locally, she decided to set up a D7 women’s shed.  

In September 2021, Lynch-Livsey took to Facebook to share her idea – and Niamh Sullivan and Tracey Heffernan offered to help. 

Two weeks later, they were joined by Jackie Byrne for a meeting to discuss the formation of the shed and get things running.   

The Dublin 7 Women’s Shed, open to any women over the age of 18 in the area, officially launched on the 10th of March, 2022 in Cabra Parkside Community Centre, with 30 women in attendance.  

It has grown to over 130 members since its 2022 launch. Sadly, Lynch-Livsey didn’t get to enjoy the fruits of her labour as she passed away before the organisation had fully taken off.  

Her successors explain the organisation’s basic idea: “The purpose of the Women’s Shed is to provide a safe, welcoming space, and friendly environment where women from all walks of life can come together to impart information, knowledge, share skills and learn new skills and to strive to combat social exclusion amongst women in our community. We hope to try to break down any social and cultural barriers that women may face in their daily lives.”  

The shed’s schedule is packed with many different activities; there’s something for everyone. They host flower arranging workshops every month, trips to the theatre, weekends away, and day trips to places of historical interest.  

Here’s some of a typical weekly schedule.  

Monday – Wednesday: Walking Group meet 19:00-20:00 TU Grangegorman and the Phoenix Park.  

Tuesday: 14:15 to 16:00 Choir meeting at the Navan Road Parish Hall; 19:00-21:00 Social and Craft Circle Meet at Christ the King Community Centre, Offaly Road, Cabra West 

First Tuesday of Each Month: Book Club 19:00-21:00 meet at the Christ the King day Centre. 

Friday: 14:00-16:00 Social Circle Workshops, Gardening weather permitting; 19:00-21:00 Social Circle Various activities such as board games and crafting. 

And of course, there’s tea, coffee, cakes and chats. 

As you can see from their weekly itinerary, there are a number of skills and hobbies to be picked up through joining the Women’s Shed. Given a chance to list the benefits, members said it was “wonderful for our mental and physical being”, they love “coming together to share ongoing skills and learn new ones”; and they also “enjoy outside speakers coming in to give talks on issues around women’s mental health and physical health.”  

And there’s a strong theme of friendship. There’s “a great feeling of equality when mingling with other members”, one said – with “the forming of new friendships and a great sense of camaraderie amongst the women.”  

The D7 Women’s Shed recently received funding to purchase IT equipment and sewing machines. They also received funding to publish their own book of short stories and poetry. They hope to publish their book soon.  

They have created their own community full of friendship and fun, but they also do so much for the community around them. Their current project is making Freddie Bags, knitting and crocheting hats and blankets for chemotherapy patients in Crumlin Children’s hospital.  

These women have grown the seeds Lynch-Livsey planted, and the organisation has blossomed into a community built on foundations of friendship and inclusivity in a safe and fun environment. 

The Women’s shed has a growing Facebook page where they post events.

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