By Ruth Waters
I meet Hannah Lewis, Project Manager of the Remakery Brixton, on a sunny Sunday afternoon in Myatt’s Fields Park. Fittingly for the nature of the project, Hannah and the Remakery team are holding their information sharing sessions as bring-and-share picnics just around the corner from the hub of the action: 2-40 Paulet Road – the soon-to-be home of the Remakery. The information picnics are happening on the second and fourth Sunday of every month as the Remakery project develops, and are open for anyone to come along, learn about the project and share ideas.
The Remakery will see a block of lower ground floor garages turned into a collective work and education space, which will incubate local enterprises and projects based on re-use, repair and up-cycling. The one-time eyesore and crime hotspot will become a place for learning new skills, fostering creativity and promoting environmentally friendly practices, allowing members of the community to turn their hobbies and newfound skills into start-up businesses. The Remakery is striving to stimulate a culture of repair and reuse, and readdress the balance in a society where, for example, most people will throw away a laptop and buy new one instead of taking it apart to find out what’s wrong with it.
The project is now in the construction phase, having gained a £100,000 grant from Lambeth Living towards the estimated £190,000 cost of the building and renovation project. Hannah is hopeful that this estimate will be reached by a combination of fundraising tactics: through applications to trusts and foundations, and good old fashioned community spirit, with local residents and community groups volunteering their time and resources towards the project. The way in which even the demolition of the old garage units has become a collaborative project Hannah sees as typical of the ethos of the whole project, with the community taking ownership of the Remakery and relishing the opportunity to self-manage its progress.
Construction is due to be completed by the end of 2012, and the workshop spaces will be available for registered members, or ‘Remakers’ as they will be known, to use. Workshop areas and tools will be available for shared use by members for everything from a one-off craft session to a full time week, space permitting. The Remakery and the collective Remakers will be involved in a number of different types of workshops, and the centre will be equipped to repair, reuse and up-cycle everything from PCs to scraps of fabric, bikes, and wooden furniture.
Already almost 100 people have expressed an interest in becoming a Remaker, with many having skills that they feel they would be able to share. The Brixton Remakery should act not only as a catalyst for a more environmentally conscious way of urban living but, equally importantly, as a catalyst for skill development and sharing in the local community.
If you would like to get involved in this new and exciting project, please volunteer your time, skills or expertise. The Remakery team are currently refurbishing the building and would welcome help from volunteers in demolishing old walls and refurbishing the interior.
Whether or not you have previous experience with either a sledge hammer or a paint brush, this is a one-off opportunity to get to get involved in the local community. For more information, please visit www.remakery.org or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ruth Waters can be found tweeting at @MinimalismBlog.