Over 250 people come to our tiny community pottery space every week, with many more on waiting lists wanting to join.
We want to make our pottery available to more local people and to do this we need to expand. If we create new workshop space we could offer classes to more individuals, parents and children, schools, young adults and special needs groups.
People who come to the pottery tell us that find it beneficial for many reasons: learning new skills, meeting other people, sharing ideas, making friends, taking on challenges, being able to express themselves creatively, feeling inspired and focusing on something other than work or domestic duty. This contributes to their sense of wellbeing, self-confidence and reduces social isolation.
We would also be able to run collaborative projects to create artworks for public spaces. Participants would be contributing positively to their community and local environment, increasing their sense of self-worth, value and civic pride.
What we'll deliver:
- Architects plans
- Feasibility study and site surveys
- Planning permission
Why it's a great idea:
People from all walks of life love coming to our pottery classes. They gain not just a new skill but increased confidence, a new social network, improved mental health, and, make beautiful things to take home. As one participant said: ‘All week I am a worker, a mother and a worrier, but on Thursdays I can make things in clay among friends’.
In order to open our doors to new people, we need to build a new workshop. It would benefit local people by providing:
• a new learning space
• creative alternatives to screen-based activities for young people
• new revenue for the community centre to support its long term sustainability
The first step towards this is to raise £12,000 to get a feasibility study underway. The existing pottery and silversmithing groups are fully involved and have raised £2,000.00 so far. The Trustees of Bensham Grove have given us permission to create a new workshop & we have the support of Gateshead learningSkills and North East Creative Craft
Steps to get it done:
- site and soil survey
- electricity and gas surveys
- architect to draw up plans
- structural survey requirements
- submit plans for planning permission
In addition to providing wider access to local people, the creation of a new craft workshop would be a significant asset to Bensham Grove, bring greater footfall into the centre and create a new cultural venue for Gateshead.
It would be a new creative venue for local people to benefit from for generations to come. Bensham Grove is steeped in applied arts history, with many features in the house created by the William Morris workshop. A new pottery would continue this inspirational philosophy of excellence in the crafts.
The classes on offer cater for all levels of skill, from complete beginner through to Access to Higher Education courses.
The success of the pottery and silversmithing classes is due to the long term commitment of the teaching staff, the considerable support of the team of 40 volunteers, alongside Gateshead Councils learningSkills who employ and train the tutors in order to offer high quality teaching in an outstanding resource.