An exciting new DIY community space providing free and accessible creative workshops, a rolling exhibition space and retail opportunities for local makers is to open at Merseyway shopping centre in Stockport.
The Merseyway Workshop, a collaboration between community focussed design team Easy Peel Studio and social enterprise Plastic Shed, will see a 600+sq ft former shoe shop at the centre transformed by the team, alongside a group of volunteers, into a free and open space where the local community can make, learn, share and inspire.
The project aims to engage with the wider community, providing opportunities for young people to connect with the art world, re-engage more isolated elderly communities, work with new and unexpected audiences and support the overall social and mental wellbeing of local people.
Alongside an evolving programme of workshops including woodwork, ceramics and upcycled plastics, The Merseyway Workshop will also provide the Stockport community with equipment and facilities to recycle plastic waste on a drop-in basis.
With work on the space about to begin, the team behind the project are keen to gather thoughts and suggestions from the local community on what they would like to see and experience at The Merseyway Workshop. Ideas and feedback can be submitted here.
The team have launched a crowdfunding campaign to help support the transformation of the space, ready to open to the public later this summer and will have social distancing and health and safety measures in place.
You can view their progress and pledge your support or skills here. https://www.spacehive.com/merseywayworkshop
Tom Marrett, Easy Peel Studio co-founder, said: “As our shopping habits continue to change, the high street has opened up a new opportunity to offer something different. We met Plastic Shed through our shared interest in reimagining how a high street could meet the alternative needs of the community and with overlapping values of creativity, skill sharing and inclusive workshop spaces, the Merseyway Workshop was born!
“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.”
Rachel Lewis, 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.
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.
“I wish Merseyway Workshop well, it’s a fantastic initiative and one that I’m sure will be welcomed by local people.”