For the past 10 months Sarah Munnings and I have been developing an idea. Our idea has turned into reality and is now happening. We are developing Grow: A Creative Community in response to feedback from local artists and artisans. Our vision is to create a collaborative community hub, a flexible workspace and learning hub for creative businesses that do not fit the current flexible working arrangements due to the nature of their business and their flexible needs. Being in a community of crafters and makers and knowing this community already exists, we realised there is a lack of meeting/collaborative space of this kind in the SE suburbs of Melbourne.
The aim of the hub is to provide connection in a fragmented industry. Makers are socially isolated by the nature of their work, often working from home without the normal day to day interactions with work colleagues.
This will be a collaborative hub where people can –
● rent studio space (both private and shared)
● hire facilities to run workshops
● provide a base for networking within the sector
● retail option within studio space
● collaborate – directory, bulk buying options, shared knowledge sessions, group learning, bartering options
● mentor/partnership options, info on starting up, lessons learned, sharing of experience
● provide friendship, learning, teaching, encouragement and support
● provide career fairs, facilitated sessions and open studios for school age students
● provide entrepreneur mentoring programs for school age students
● create a library for resources such as clothes, sewing patterns, books, tools and equipment.
Research has established that there is a positive correlation between time spent in community activities and health outcomes and they want to provide a space and community which supports local craft/makers industry/social enterprises, as well as mothers seeking identity, life balance, family, flexibility, mental health, preventative medicine and diversional therapy. It will be a unique learning/mentoring option and provider of entrepreneurial skills for young adults.
We are developing a website and currently have an active facebook page. Both Monash and Kingston councils are supporting us in various ways and Sarah and I have recently had the honour of presenting Grow at the Monash Business Awards. Link Health and Community are now an auspice partner with us and providing a great deal of support as well. We have established a board which includes six amazing, skilled, talented and passionate people.
We are so excited about Grow and the potential it for the community. I will keep you posted with what is happening.