The Merseyway Workshop, a DIY community space, has opened in a former retail unit in the shopping precinct, providing free and accessible creative workshops, a rolling exhibition space and retail opportunities for local makers
A collaboration between design team Easy Peel Studio and social enterprise Plastic Shed, has seen a 600 sq ft former shoe shop in Merseyway shopping centre transformed into a free and open space for the community Work began on repurposing the unit in July 2020.
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 Merseyway Workshop will initially open with an interactive exhibition by its founders, and will then be open for local artists to feature their work. The space will also house an ongoing programme of workshops as well as a facility for plastic recycling, allowing Stockport residents to recycle some plastic waste currently not processed by council facilities.
A retail area will also showcase work from local artists and craftspeople for sale.
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.”
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.”