A NEW craft centre could be on the cards for Uttoxeter, if a group of volunteers from the town can bring their vision to life. The centre would offer a retail area for craft supplies as well as workshop space for all kinds of activities from needlework through to papercraft and art. The steering group behind the project - Festina Lente - is hoping to evaluate the level of support for the venture in the town and in the surrounding area.
Maureen Turner is a member of Festina Lente, which is Latin for ‘hasten slowly.’ She said: “It’s very much at the vision stage, it’s all ideas at the moment.
“We’re looking at supplying craft materials and having the space to hold workshops for adults and children – possibly after-school clubs.
“If we can find the right venue, we’d also be keen to offer wellbeing and mindfulness sessions such as yoga, pilates and meditation.
“We’d want to run it as a community business and we are getting advice from the Plunkett Foundation, which specialises in supporting community business projects.
“We would aim to follow the democratic rules of a Community Benefit Society.”
Jacquie Partridge of the curtain-making and haberdashery business JP Designs, is also a member of the group.
Jacquie said: “I’m looking forward to retiring after 12 years in Uttoxeter and I’ve now closed my shop in Market Place so at this point there is no haberdashery or wool shop in the town centre.
“I’ve had so many people come to me and say they are gutted we’re going.
“But I’m excited about the new challenges of being part of Festina Lente and the new project.”
Barbara Kelly is a supporter of the project. She added: “I paint and draw, I’m very involved in doing that, so I’m interested in having workshops in Uttoxeter, as well as somewhere that supplies a wide range of quality art materials alongside haberdashery.
“What we need at this stage is to find out what people want and gauge the level of support for this idea.”
The steering group has recently attended a trade show event at the NEC to garner more information about selling craft supplies and is appealing for anyone with experience of running a community business, or with ideas for craft or wellbeing workshops, to get in touch.
Maureen added: “There has been tremendous support for the idea and now we are going to need moral support as we get things moving, and then we will need financial support.
“We are finding out about issuing shares to the community as well as looking at other sources of funding, but that will come in the fullness of time.”
Festina Lente is now appealing for anyone with experience of similar projects who can offer advice, and people who may be able to run workshops, to get in touch.
Anyone interested can contact Maureen by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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