Workspaces for creative start-ups and small businesses are to be developed in a Suffolk high street in a bid to drive regeneration.
Saxmundham is to become a hub for artists, makers, tech developers and other creative companies after the project received £50,000 from New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership’s Growing Places Fund.
The initiative has been developed and led by non-profit group The Art Station, and will offer affordable, sustainable workspaces and future training opportunities for young people. It is being developed at the former Post Office and Telephone Exchange in the market town and is expected to launch later this year.
Studios, tech and exhibition space, arts activity and community engagement will combine in 2,700 square feet on the first floor of the building.
In its early stages, the project received free support from New Anglia Growth Hub, part of the Business Growth Programme delivered by the LEP. One of its advisers connected The Art Station with a local economic development officer and helped explore its plans for the building’s refurbishment.
Iain Dunnett, senior growing places co-ordinator for the LEP, said: “The LEP regards the project as having significant social impact through creating cultural and enterprising activity, volunteering and work experience opportunities within the town and surrounding areas.
“It will have a positive impact on the high street of Saxmundham, bringing creative vibrancy to this location.”
Lynne Dobney, a director and trustee of The Art Station said: “We aim to effect real change, enabling people to come together and form communities around the creative industries and tech.”
The project has the support of East Suffolk Council, Suffolk County Council Arts Development Manager Jayne Knight, Start East, Saxmundham Town Council, Saxmundham Neighbourhood Plan Working Group, and Market Hall Group.