Old Kent Road Studios is crowdfunding to convert unused garages to community workspace

03 August 2016

Old Kent Road studios is one of 20 locally initiated crowdfunding campaigns to receive a pledge from the Mayor of London in Round 3 of our Civic Crowdfunding pilot.

This means that if the campaign can raise all of the rest of the total project budget from 'the crowd', the Mayor will donate £20,000 and it can become a reality. The deadline for this fundraising is 16th August 2016.

Ulrike Steven of what if: projects explains more...

Tell us about your organisation and its key aims

Nicholas Okwulu of social enterprise Pempeople and I are neighbours who have joined forces to develop plans for the transformation of 60 vacant garages on the Ledbury Estate on Old Kent Road. Located in one of the most deprived wards in Southwark, the project addresses the need for training and support in an area with high youth unemployment and low levels of educational attainment.

What is your project, why is it important and how will it help people in your area?

The proposed programme seeks to bring life, new skills and jobs to a neglected corner of South East London. Southwark Council is providing us with support and a lease for the garages. They will become 'The Livesey Exchange' workshop and workspace, developed in stages over two years. We are currently trying to kick-start the project through this crowdfunding campaign.

Our project will create opportunities for people locally before the Regeneration of Old Kent Road commences. The Livesey Exchange will provide spaces for making, training and cultural programs in the context of a housing estate on the Old Kent Road. 1300m2 of vacant space on the Ledbury Estate will be transformed into a community venue with a central courtyard surrounded by workshops, studios, multifunctional spaces and a training kitchen.

The garages on the Ledbury Estate present an increasingly rare opportunity for a new, experimental community space in central London. Potential partner organisations include the Tate, London Youth and the Feminist Library who are considering moving their base to the Livesey Exchange.

What’s your best experience of the Mayor’s crowdfunding pilot been so far?

Receiving the Mayor’s pledge of £20K has been very encouraging for us, and for the local residents and businesses who are supporting the project. It has galvanized interest in the project, got people talking and opened doors to potential funding partners.

Why, when and how should people pledge to you?

Help us to kick-start this ambitious project! The funding target hasn’t been reached yet and we encourage everybody with an interest in the Old Kent Road to make a pledge now. You will be part of creating a destination on this historic high street.

Make a pledge to support access to open source timber, metal or screen printing workshops, a training kitchen, meeting and multi-functional spaces.

Is there anything specific you need in-kind?

We need heavy duty brooms, dust pans and brushes, buckets and working gloves for the big clean-up of the garages on 13th August.

Do you have any public events or media appearances coming up?

On the 13th August 12:00-15:00 we will clean the 1290m2 garages and anybody willing to get down and dirty is welcome to help us. Contact Nicholas if you are interested to help: [email protected]

Are there any other ways people can meet you face-to-face or help you?

People are invited to come for a site visit. Contact Nicholas to arrange: [email protected]

Please visit our Spacehive page to pledge to our campaign and follow Pempeople on Twitter for regular updates.

Let's count 1-40+ Garages Old Kent Road Studios

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