Ruth Mitchell

Bid launched for creative hub in South Tyneside

South Tyneside could eventually have a purpose built iconic workplace for creative businesses if a new network project takes off in the Borough. Creative businesses in South Tyneside are being urged to get together to form a new steering group called Spectrum to lobby on behalf of the sector.

The immediate aim is to establish a creative hub to foster the development of a cluster of creative businesses and creative activity with a view to developing into an independent group. Long-term, this could evolve into the development of a physical work place combining offices with studio and art-space. A feasibility study into the development of a building to operate not just as a workspace but as a hub for new and emerging creative enterprises concluded that more feedback is needed from the creative sector to demonstrate the need for such services.

Graham Hodgson of Hawthorn Arts in South Shields said: “In other towns and cities the creative businesses have tended to grow organically together from a central focus whereas in South Tyneside our creatives tend to operate in isolation or in tight knit groups. “If we can all come together and represent ourselves as a group within the wider business community we will be in a much better position to lobby for facilities, workspace, tailored business support and get the recognition creative businesses deserve. “This is a fantastic opportunity to build the sector in the Borough. All the building blocks are in place. It is up to us to show there is a will and a demand to make things happen.”

The steering group will be kick started at an event in the Community Room at South Shields Customs House theatre, Mill Dam, on Wednesday, November 1st at 12am midday. All existing creative businesses across the Borough, and people considering setting up a new creative venture, are invited to put forward their views and to talk to business support representatives and to see if there is the will to take the initiative forward.

A blog has also been set up at http://spectrumsouthtyneside.blogspot.com to give people the chance to register their support and leave their comments in advance of the launch of a dedicated website www.spectrumproject.org.

Anyone interested in attending the event or getting involved should email andyb@resultsnetwork.co.uk or call Andy Barker at Results Network on 0191 519 7268 or Richard Barber at South Tyneside Council on 0191 4271717.

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