Since The Exchange Creative Community was dreamt into being, we have worked tirelessly to keep talking to people about our hopes, forming plans and refining them. We are keen to make sure that what we offer here is relevant, accessible and inspiring. We have expanded from one empty unit on West St. to working across four, and after this last week, we are convinced we have once again outgrown the space.
Committed to providing a space that is open as much as possible for people to access and engage with creativity and other members of the local community, we’re in the process of moving toward the next chapter, expanding into the back rooms of the old Trinity Methodist Church. And we’re keen to do this in full collaboration with as many of you as possible! Why change something when it works? It seems everyone at The Exchange feels it’s benefited them in someway. Maybe learnt a new skill, gained confidence or experienced the benefits of a supportive network of people.
Before we had a name or place to work from, we met with almost 40 local people to discuss ideas and our plan changed a lot as a result. We realised we needed to focus on promoting the wealth of talent in the local area, and provide a meeting place that could house conversations and ideas, perhaps make it possible for people to try new things. We developed creative ways to do this, showing and selling artwork and providing a platform from which to share skills and experiences.
We love it here. The area has so much natural beauty, so much creative energy and kindness. It has been such a privilege to be around so many people that want to help and support each other to follow their passions, find new talents, share in each others successes. Pushing our own limits, and building our collective capabilities!
The Exchange is not about what we want to do, but providing the space and resources for many people to
come together and bring a wide range of possibilities with them. Of course, we’ll help wherever we can.
As we set out to widen and refine our offer, adding in more space from which to work. We’re keen to ensure we invest time in making sure what we’re on track, that people have every chance to tell us what will help you live a happy, healthy, social and creative life. What you would like to see, and what you wouldn't.
We’re also keen to meet local people who are interesting in using The Exchange, either as business premises for your creative enterprise, a a venue to exhibit art work or as a venue to deliver a creative programme. Equally, yo may have other ideas of how you can use what we're growing here. Either way, we’d love to hear from you, we firmly believe we can do more, together.
The three spaces we’re committed to providing, adding to what is already available in the area are as follows;
Brew Bar - a creative community hub, with access to workshops and activities along side tasty and affordable food and drinks. A place to meet new faces, try new things and find out about the exciting things going on in the area. We anticipate a new range of activities and uses for the space, perhaps even on an evening. Let us know if there’s something you’d like to do.
Good Things Gallery - a space to showcase the fabulous unique, handmade items and work going on at the Exchange and all around the Westend courtesy of local artists and makers. We’re committed to ensuring there are items available at a range of prices, making sure there’s something for everyone. We’re seeking to develop our online platform to create a prominent platform for people in the area to sell work further afield. As ever, artists will have opportunity to make offers of time given in exchange for keeping all the money from sales. Otherwise, commission on sales goes into developing The Exchange.
West St. Studio - a community art studio and enterprise hub offering a shared workspace that supports a range of creative activity. A bit like a gym but for art - because if everyone bought everything themselves they’d run our of space and it would cost a small fortune. Sharing resources will help us get the best use of them and we hope, mean we all have access to more resources.
If you have a creative business idea, get an affordable base, access to quality resources and the chance to work around other like minded people. If you just being creative and making stuff, this space is accessible to you too. If you’re a bit curious but don’t know where to start, we’ll be running a range of workshops and programmes from here so sign up and see where it leads.
How to have your say.
Online, at our Typeform page if you have 10 minutes, please fill in our consultation, it will help us make well informed decisions in the future.
At our venue on West Street this week we’ve pinned up mood boards to the walls, we’re asking everyone that comes in to chip in ideas, stick up pictures and tell us what matters to you or what you want to bring to this journey we’re making together.
If you’re keen to get more involved, then we’re hosting a visioning & community planning event on Friday 17th March, 10am - 4pm followed by a visit to the bowling alley for a bit of fun time afterwards. Please get in touch to confirm your attendance so we can make sure there’s enough food for lunch & lanes booked at the bowling alley.
Otherwise, - feel free to inbox us with comments, suggestions and ideas at any time! We look forward to hearing from you.