A new creative and digital hub due to open in Southport this year has launched a crowdfunding campaign as it seeks support from local people.
The Engine Room will open in space on the first and second floors at Wayfarers Arcade on Lord Street in Southport town centre.
The ambitious initiative aims to “kickstart a regeneration of Wayfarers Arcade and historic Lord Street”.
The Engine Room is being developed by Dr Eric Lybeck, a Senior Lecturer at the Manchester Institute of Education, has been working closely with partners including Southport BID and Southport College to bring his vision to life.
He said: “We need your support! We have a crowdfunder now live at the IndieGoGo website here.
“We’ve got less than a year to prove we can make this work! The owner has given us our space for a peppercorn rent on the basis that we can raise funding from public, private and philanthropic sources to support creativity in Southport.
“Between January and June 2024 we need to fill our creative Engine Room space with activity – capturing the demand amongst the Southport community for a dynamic space for young and old people to come together for new and exciting ventures, courses, events, meetings and chance encounters – we really do have the potential to kickstart a regeneration of Wayfarers Arcade and historic Lord Street.
“Please subscribe to our The Engine Room Facebook page for updates about what’s on in the coming months.
“Southport BID is installing the fastest internet in town before this month is out, and the University of Manchester has donated desks while we build out our custom work stations and cafe.
“But, this is what we need help with ASAP – £20,000 would cover the costs of construction, plumbing and the salary of a full-time member of staff to manage the cafe and events.”
This funding would free up The Engine Room Director Eric R Lybeck to apply for public funding, including the recently announced Creative Catalyst fund, NESTA’s Arts and Cultural Impact Fund, and UKRI’s Resilient Coastal Communities grant competitions.
These investments in infrastructure would enable The Engine Room to open every day, all week, encouraging subscribers to join its self-sustaining community of co-workers.
Dr Lybeck said: “Your larger donations will help us reserve no-cost spaces for young people who are just setting up shop – like a scholarship, but for graduates starting a new venture.
“Please check out our crowdfunder and help us get off the ground.
“Let’s make 2024 the year we really put our town of Southport back on the map!”
The Engine Room will add to Southport’s growth in co-working and creative spaces, with Werksy on West Street having opened in January 2024 and work taking place to create the new Southport Enterprise Arcade on Eastbank Street.
The Engine Room is situated on the first and second floors of the arcade, near the entrance to West Street.
There is lots of scope to shape the beautiful interior to the needs of those in the creative, digital, tech or artistic industries.
The broadband speeds available will be superfast – ideal for anyone who wants to call in and plug in a laptop, while connecting with like-minded creatives.
There will be a cafe on site. A room with a green screen upstairs will allow people to host and share learning experiences. There will be an area that can be utilised for meetings.
The spaces inside are flexible and nothing is pre-determined. It could be used for fashion designers; photographers; digital marketers; graphics designers.
The new venture will create fantastic opportunities for young people, start-up businesses and sole traders, helping in the ongoing work being undertaken by Southport BID and Southport College to tackle the issue of ‘youth flight’ by providing more opportunities for work.
Dr Lybeck said: “Southport town centre can really flourish if it continues to evolve.
“We want to have conversations with local residents to find out what they think this space can be best utilised for.
“Over the next six months we want to be able to demonstrate that there is a real demand, an interest and a need for what we offer here.
“In 2024 The Engine Room is going to be quite an exciting place to be.”
- For more details please visit: www.engine-room.biz and please Like The Engine Room Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/the.engine.room.biz