This post looks at Makerhood’s progress to date, the Brixton Makers’ Club – and the plans for a new Makers’ community across Lambeth.
Two years on… what a journey!
Just over two years ago, a group of local volunteers launched Makerhood in Brixton and surrounding areas. We set out to promote creativity and skills in our neighbourhoods, help people find local goods and support local makers.
We started with few preconceptions – we wanted to experiment and learn about what worked and what didn’t in achieving our goals. Makerhood quickly evolved to include many different activities – from helping to organise local markets, to running public events and workshops, to helping makers develop their businesses.
Many local people came on board and made things happen, be it kicking off the Brixton Station Road market, developing partnerships with local businesses such as Diverse, WBC and many others, or organising events such as Making Uncovered.
There’s now a strong network of makers in place, locally-made goods are easy to find online or in the real world, and many local people have learned new making skills. And, alongside the Brixton project, a new Makerhood community sprang up further South, covering Norwood, Streatham and Crystal Palace.
Thank you to all of you who helped Makerhood come so far! It’s been a fun and full-on journey.
And now we’re taking the next steps – we’ve just launched the Makers’ Club, and are working on expansion across Lambeth.
The Makers’ Club: creating connections
Over the past two years, we’ve learned that Makerhood’s biggest value is in creating connections, between:
- different makers, by sharing learning and advice, and collaborating with each other;
- makers and the local community, by promoting locally-made goods on- and offline through markets, shops and events; and
- makers and local businesses, by creating new opportunities for makers to sell or teach, and by encouraging new business relationships.
We’ve spent the past several months working on a model that would help build and sustain such connections. We analysed potential approaches, looked at income and costs to make Makerhood sustainable as a social enterprise, and consulted with local makers and volunteers.
As a result, we’ve just launched the Makers’ Club – a network of makers in Brixton and surrounding areas that brings benefits to makers, the broader community, and local businesses. This is the model we will use as a blueprint for Makerhood’s roll-out across Lambeth.
Lambeth roll-out: why, and why now?
Ever since Makerhood launched, we’ve had people and organisations getting in touch asking if we could set up a Makerhood in their area. We’ve heard from other parts of Lambeth and many other London boroughs as well as elsewhere in the UK and even beyond – from the US to the Netherlands and Australia!
It’s been great to see such interest, but we also wanted to learn to walk before we could fly. It was important to make sure we understood how the project could run, how it could be sustainable, and how it could remain local while bringing its benefits to other areas.
Having worked out the future model for Makerhood based on our experience in Brixton and Norwood, we’re now ready to grow – and we think it makes sense to start close to home, in our own borough of Lambeth.
We’re very excited about taking the project forward. We’d love to create more opportunities for more local people, makers and local businesses all over Lambeth. But of course there will be questions to answer, from “how do we define local” to “what new features does the website need” to “what does a local Makerhood group do”. We’re looking forward to answering those in the coming weeks and months.
And this is where you come in.
Makerhood is a community-led project – we’d love anyone in Lambeth who supports our ethos to get involved. Whether you are a maker, a local business, or a community member who wants to get involved, just drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for support, and we look forward to seeing you at meetings, markets, events – or online – all over Lambeth!
Your Makerhood Team.
We’d like to thank the Lambeth Council for the financial support that will cover part of the project’s roll-out costs – it wouldn’t have been possible without it. We’re also grateful to the London Community Foundation for its support in helping us develop the Makers’ Club model over the past year. And we’re grateful to the Lambeth.
I Love South London image is from a print by Ray Stanbrook.