Mayor funds people’s workshop in Walthamstow

22 January 2014

London’s Deputy Mayor for Business and Enterprise, Kit Malthouse, will help to open an innovative new workspace in Walthamstow today (22 January).

It has been designed to help local people learn the arts, crafts and hands-on trade skills that the area is famous for, as well as providing space for small businesses.

The Blackhorse Workshop is a new public building that was part-funded by the Mayor of London’s Outer London Fund and has been built in former manufacturing premises. The workshop is fully-equipped with a range of tools and machinery and has a team of skilled technicians on-hand to offer advice and help. For a small fee anyone can rent a space at the workshop, from people visiting for a day through to a small business or start-ups renting a permanent bench or a private studio to run their business from.

The two-storey space offers indoor and outdoor areas for assembly and construction and will also host public classes. There will be a free public space where anyone can come along and learn to build or fix anything from a carnival float through to furniture.

Deputy Mayor for Business and Enterprise, Kit Malthouse, said: “This is a truly inspirational project that sums up exactly why the Outer London Fund was created. The Blackhorse Workshop has taken a disused space and turned it into something that will benefit the whole community for generations to come. Anyone can come here whether they just want to learn skills to use at home or to use it as an opportunity to get their business started. This really is an investment in the future of Walthamstow.”

The workshop received £90,000 from the Mayor’s Outer London Fund, which was launched in June 2011 and is a three-year initiative dedicated to strengthening the vibrancy and growth of London’s high streets and town centres. The investment in the workshop forms part of the £1.1m investment by the Mayor in the regeneration of the Blackhorse Lane area which has included shop-front improvements, revitalising the local shopping parade and a £330,000 investment in the Walthamstow Wetlands, which aims to attract visitors by creating the largest urban nature reserve in Europe.

The workshop also received £80,000 from Waltham Forest Council and £50,000 from Create London. It was commissioned by Waltham Forest Council and has been under construction for six months with architects Assemble working closely with local artists, businesses and community organisations throughout the build to ensure that it is a genuinely valuable space for the whole community.

Leader of Waltham Forest Council, Chris Robbins, said: “We’re really excited that this project is breathing new life into the Blackhorse Lane regeneration area and hope it will help build on the growing arts and cultural hub in Waltham Forest. With training opportunities and workshop facilities for all, a community café and community garden which will help local people to grow their own produce, the Blackhorse Workshop will be a real focal point for the local community, building on Blackhorse Lane’s industrial heritage and contributing to the wider transformation of the area.”

Hadrian Garrard, Director, Create London said: “In the technologically driven world in which we live it is easy to forget the value in practical skills, despite London and the UK’s strong industrial heritage. Blackhorse Workshop will create a communal space for the people of Waltham Forest to gain such skills and knowledge. We hope it will encourage people to rediscover these lost skills, whether as creative hobbies, for money-saving home improvements, or as valuable resources in our construction and manufacturing trade.”

 

Notes to editors

Up to £50 million of the Mayor’s Outer London Fund funding is being allocated to a variety of projects over the course of the three years. You can see some of the other exciting projects by visiting our website www.london.gov.uk The Blackhorse Workshop will be open between 9.30am and 5.30pm Tuesday to Sunday. For more information visit their website www.blackhorseworkshop.co.uk