Georjie Adams wants to tackle gender inequality around building and inspire women to get involved through workshops taught by women.
In Her Hands is trans and non-binary inclusive and more than £5,000 has been raised through Crowdfunder to get the project up and running.
Georjie is renting a characterful old stable barn just outside Steyning as the base for the workshops.She said: "The barn came to us in bad condition, with rotting wood and lacking structural support. We have been in the process of getting it up to scratch but need funds on top of the rent to finish the renovation, such as timber for structural woodwork, insulation, screws, and tools.
"In Her Hands will be a non-profit community project that aims to dismantle the inaccessible nature of building to allow a productive and empowering space for women to learn and explore the fundamentals of construction.
"Our weekly pay-as-you-feel workshop days will work on a donation basis so that inclusivity and accessibility remain a priority. No matter your age or background, you will be welcome.
"We aspire to create an uplifting learning environment where we approach core building skills with access to tools, bench space and supportive guidance. Here, mistakes will be encouraged as an important way of learning and we will aim to use as much waste and recycled wood as possible, not only for ethical reasons but so we won’t feel precious about making mishaps.
"There will be an outdoor fire pit with a communal garden hangout space and through an inclusive and unpressured atmosphere we will aspire to create a sense of community. We will also offer support and outreach to specific community groups working with women on a scheduled on-going basis to build upon a set of skills and confidence."
The aim is to be open to the public in late August or early September but in the meantime, volunteers can sign up to be part of the renovation process by emailing [email protected] Donations of waste and recyclable wood or tools would be welcome.
Georjie has been building Bluebell, her unique little house, on a van chassis for four years. She said: "I started off with almost zero experience in building, I could barely use a drill and had no practical understanding of engineering or architecture.
"I relied entirely on basic intuition, something I believe we all have, which I was excited to learn is enough of a groundwork to use standard tools and materials. Then, accompanied with determination and a dose of perseverance, I trialled-and-errored my way into gaining a deeper understanding of woodwork and construction principals.
"Developing my building skills has been the most empowering and important experience of my entire life. Nothing has brought me the same sense of confidence and independence as such a simple set of skills. I'm determined that this is something all women and non-binary folk should get the fair and equal chance to explore and learn should they want to, for both their own ability to live independently without reliance on others for basic household DIY tasks, and for the empowering impact it has on our sense of self-capability and resilience."