The Merseyway Workshop – an exciting new DIY community space providing a rolling exhibition space, free and accessible creative workshops, and retail opportunities for local makers is openingFriday, 4th December 2020 at Merseyway shopping centre, in Stockport.
The Workshop, a collaboration between community focused design team Easy Peel Studioand community benefit society Plastic Shed, has transformed former shoe shop, alongside a group of volunteers, into a free and open space where the local community can make, learn, share and inspire.
Tom Marrett, Easy Peel Studio co-founder, said, “The space will provide a valuable local provision for individuals who would not ordinarily have the opportunity to engage in such endeavours and we very much see this as a pilot for future projects, offering an alternative hands-on space where members of the public can gather, create and share – for little or no cost to themselves. The space very much supports the ethos behind the new One Stockport campaign which is about working collaboratively, connecting communities and promoting health and wellbeing.”
The Workshop team will beopening the space with its first interactiveexhibition created by the collaboration of EasyPeel Studio and Plastic Shed, which allows forcreative input from the public. Following thatthe exhibition space will see local artistsfeaturing their work
Alongside an evolving programme of workshops, including woodwork, ceramics and up-cycled plastics, Merseyway Workshop will also provide the Stockport community with facilities to drop-in and recycle plastic waste that can’t be recycled by the local council – turning the waste into new and useful products that can be used again.
There will be a retail area showcasing the finest crafts from artists and makers who will be displaying and selling their work, giving the public a chance to take a piece of art home with them and support local creatives, suchOn The Brink Furniture, Joe Hartley Ceramics, Over The County Culture Clothing, Easy Peel Studio Products, Plastic Shed Products and local Illustrators, Maisy Summer, Luca Shaw & Dylan Woodall.
The project has had amazing support with their first crowdfunding campaign reaching its target in just two days. They have raised £4k,which has enabled the first phase of renovations. The team are working closely with other local artists, social enterprises, charities and businesses to ensure the space becomes something that the whole community can use and be proud of.
Keen to gather thoughts and suggestions from the pubic on what they would like to see and experience at Merseyway Workshop – ideas and feedback can be submitted via the website
Rachel Lewis, co- director at Plastic Shed said: “This is “building back better”. Having places on the high street put back into local hands means that it is connected to local people and accountable to the community. In the new normal it’s vital that we listen to what the community needs. We can’t wait to see how this space evolves as people use it. As a Stockport based social enterprise it’s a huge step forward for us and we’ll be able to deliver an even bigger social and environmental impact.”
The space consists of ground floor, including exhibition, workshop and retail space, which is open to the public. This is the first phase of the ongoing project, with plans to grow together as a community, following collaborations and feedback – watch this space!
The space will remain flexible during this time, taking in to account people’s safety, running online activities and socially distanced events.
Victoria Nichol, Merseyway Centre Manager said: “We’re thrilled the centre is going to be home to such a fantastic project which will offer a wealth of creative opportunities for local people. And as we continue to live with the impact of Covid-19 it’s more important than ever that we work collectively to support the local community.”
Cllr David Meller, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economy at Stockport Council, said: “This is a great example of how we are diversifying the offer at Merseyway and are introducing new businesses such as this to compliment the retail environment. Town Centre’s are changing and we have to move with the times to ensure they continue to thrive and attract people for a number of different reasons.”
“The One Stockport campaign embraces the idea of the community working together and making sure that no one is left out and this certainly supports its mission and values.