Formed in 2012 as Make Liverpool by Kirsten Little and Liam Kelly, Make CIC currently operates Make Baltic in Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle and Make North Docks. Tony McDonough reports
Social enterprise Make CIC is to invest £100,000 opening an “arts, culture creativity” hub in Birkenhead – its third Merseyside site.
Formed in 2012 as Make Liverpool by social entrepreneurs Kirsten Little and Liam Kelly, Make CIC currently operates Make Baltic in Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle and Make North Docks in Ten Streets in the city’s north docklands.
Its stated mission is “to remove barriers to people joining the economy, by making things themselves and becoming self-sufficient” and it provides a home to dozens of artists and micro businesses.
Make Hamilton Square, based in a largely vacant building, is raising £100,000 of financial support to undertake the project of which £5,000 will come from a crowdfunding campaign and £23,000 via a grant from Wirral Council. Other confirmed backers include Finsa, Arriva, Baltic Creative, FACT Co, Beautiful Ideas Co.
The creative hub will provide opportunities for the local community and visitors alike. People will be able to take part in a diverse offer including events, classes and opportunities to learn skills and crafts. It is forecast to produce £1.6m of social impact for Wirral.
Liam Kelly, who was born in Birkenhead, said “Make CIC was started seven years ago in response to a period of challenging mental health for me as I found myself isolated working from home.
“We are now focused on removing barriers for people and sometimes that can be as simple as not spending all day in isolation, learning a craft or just meeting new people.”
The biggest transformation will take place outside, with the revival of the currently neglected “millennium garden” in to a community garden space, just off Hamilton Square.
Plans include a small urban farm with raised beds for growing vegetables; well-being space for sitting, reading, and meeting people; and an outdoor courtyard for the cafe in the day and events at night.
Urban green oasis
Later this month Make Hamilton Square will launch a £5,000 crowdfunding campaign for support with the initial set-up costs of reviving the garden. The campaign #MakeHamiltonGrow will seek support to build planters, seats and even bee-hives with the aim of creating an urban green oasis open to everyone.
There will be opportunities for people to help by rolling up their sleeves, learn skills and get involved over the summer.
Local organisations are working with Make Hamilton Square to ensure new opportunities around creative entrepreneurship, craft, making and STEM skills are accessible to local residents through educational workshops, hosted in the hub.
A social impact forecast has been conducted on the project by First Ark which found that the project has the opportunity to create £1.6 million of social impact for Wirral over the next five years.
Kirsten Little added: “There are so many good things happening in Birkenhead. We’re excited to start working with local partners to fit in and provide opportunities for the community that isn’t there yet.”