Wirral arts hub wins £10,000 in national contest

A community arts organisation in Birkenhead has won £10,000 in a competition that celebrates the UK’s brightest young entrepreneurs. Tony McDonough reports

Convenience Gallery
Convenience Gallery founders Andrew Shaw and Ryan Gauge with their DBACE award


Birkenhead community arts organisation Convenience Gallery will now open a permanent space after winning £10,000 in a competition for young entrepreneurs.

Convenience Gallery was founded by Andrew Shaw and Ryan Gauge in 2019. It is a community-centered arts organisation creating free and accessible opportunities for local communities to engage with the arts.

Friends Andrew and Ryan were both artists struggling to find space and opportunities within the region. They set up Convenience in Birkenhead Market to create a space to champion local art and develop a growing creative programme.

Since then they have gone on to co-build 19 exhibitions and installations and engaged more than 4,000 people to attend their exhibitions. They have also worked with more than 20 artists to lead creative workshops and lead creative and wellbeing courses for local young people.

This week at a ceremony in London, Convenience Gallery was announced as as one of the five winners of The Deutsche Bank Awards for Creative Entrepreneurs (DBACE). Founded in 1993 DBACE celebrates the UK’s brightest young entrepreneurs aged 18 to 30 years who create positive social impacts.

DBACE partnered with MeWe360, a non-profit that champions and supports entrepreneurs in the arts and creative industries. Applicants from across the visual art, design, fashion, architecture and performing arts fields are able to apply at any stage of their entrepreneurial journey.

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Andrew and Ryan said: “Being one of the winners of DBACE is a point of pride for us but also for the network and community we’ve worked with. It’s great to see the work we’ve done with our community and within the creative industry recognised nationally.

“It already supported us to reach new audiences and communities outside of our area. Going through the process so far has supported us individually too. It is helping us to continue in our growth and supporting us to make a positive impact in Birkenhead and within the creative industry.

Five winners were picked from nine finalists and they shared a prize pot of £60,000. The other winners were:

  • Chamiah Dewey, Chamiah Dewey Fashion, the UK’s first clothing brand for people with dwarfism, offering stylish, timeless pieces, made using eco-conscious fabrics.
  • Jem Collins, Journo Resources, a social enterprise that helps underrepresented people into the journalism industry, with free-to-access tools, resources and support.
  • Sabella Ibáñez, Alice Moxley and Jason Thompson, Pivot, a social enterprise that empowers people experiencing homelessness to pivot their lives through making and craftsmanship.
  • Tumisha Balogun, Shian James and Alvin Owusu Fordwuo, Tag agency, a youth culture & marketing agency that transforms young lives through the power of culture, community and storytelling.

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