New Makerspace for Northwich

A local businessman has secured new premises, and preparation is now well underway for Northwich Makerspace.  The first facility of it’s kind in the area, it’s set to bring a fresh and unique approach to the traditional Makerspace concept, helping develop local creative talent by providing the right tools and environment in which people can work.

Jonathan Shone set up his company Shadow Foam on Cosgrove Business Park ten years ago and this has already grown into a worldwide operation yet still supports local supply wherever possible.  Championing the local area has always been important to Northwich born Jonathan, and the Makerspace is set to be the next step in that plan.

Jonathan explains. “For the past few years I’ve being working on the idea of a Community Makerspace for the people of Northwich.  There are a few operations like this around the country but we’re very much going to bring a really inclusive, vibrant and innovative feel to this one.”
 
“A Makerspace is essentially a community workshop. It’s a place for anyone who’s interested in making things, inventing things, arts, crafts or being creative with technology.  You can go there to either work alone in a safe and supportive space, or to find a community that likes the same things that you do.  It will have all the tools, equipment and resources on hand to make it happen, so it’s a level playing field for anyone, even if they don’t currently have access to tools themselves.”

“It's a place to learn, share, experiment and create. Whilst it’s being set up and operated by us, essentially it is funded by its members who can then shape and grow the facility as they need it for themselves and others to continue to benefit from for years to come.”

The Northwich Makerspace will benefit from cutting edge technology starting with a tech area or FabLab as it’s become known.  This will have a range of Professional 3D printers, along with a large, high powered CNC Laser which can cut MDF, Acylic, Vinyl, Leather and many other materials up to 1.2metres in size.  Powerful PC’s with the latest software will be available to allow people to get straight down to designing and 3D Printing.  

The Makerspace will also have a fully kitted out woodworking area with a table saw, band saws, planers, woodturning lathe, router table, drill press and bench sanders along with a huge selection of power tools.  This area will have several workbenches, so people can work on the machinery and equipment when needed, then take the project back to their workbench making it simple to share the space and work with others.

There are also plans for a Craft Zone with a multi-purpose classroom/studio which can be used for tabletop crafts and hobbies. There’ll be sewing machines, leather working tools, a vinyl plotter, large format printers, and all sorts of arts and craft tools.

Jonathan expanded on his plans further “We will have storage areas available in a variety of sizes so members can store ongoing projects and materials, and can leave any personal equipment or tools securely at the Makerspace. There will also be an area for shared resources, that will be free for any of the members to use in their projects.”

Organisers and founding members of the Makerspace will be looking to improve, grow and develop the facility and it’s members through offering courses and lessons.  Those will include anything from photography, pottery, sewing and any number of crafts and skills, subject to interest and demand. 

The space won’t just be a workshop though.  Plans are to have a presentation and conference room for brainstorming or sharing ideas. There will also be a comfortable lounge area where members can chill out or socialise whilst making the most of the free super fast wifi available for all members. There’ll also be a fully fitted kitchen with hot and cold drink options plus snacks.

Jonathan tells us “The community won’t have to wait long for this… We've already started renovation work on the 5000 sq ft premises we’ve secured, at and aim to have the Makerspace fully opened by December. And this is where you come in….. We can’t do this without the people of the town!  So if you want to be a part of the Northwich Makerspace becoming a reality, or if you know anyone who this would be perfect for, please let them know about it and visit us at our Crowdfunder page to register your interest.”

“We want to open the space with healthy number of founding members, ensuring we have a strong community right from the outset. For a monthly fee, members can benefit from equipment and facilities they mightn’t be able to afford or don’t have access to on their own. Then, the funds raised will be invested in making sure that the space benefits everyone, with the best equipment and facilities possible.”

“There are many ways to support the project ranging from a small donation to early founder membership.  We will also be looking to engage corporate sponsors and partnerships from the local business community too. We see it as a space where more experienced makers can share their knowledge and experience with inspiring makers-to-be, stimulating their passion and giving people the means to be able to try out new crafts or skills while learning from those around them.  We want use of this facility to be attainable for anyone with a passion for making or creativity, and to become something which really helps people of the area.”

Now that the new unit on Cosgrove Business Park, Anderton has been secured, plans for the Makerspace are moving quickly.  With a limited number of memberships being available for the first roll-out expected to be in December, this pre-registration process will really help organisers gauge demand and hone the concept into the perfect facility for the people of Northwich to share.

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