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Troll Hunter
11 Jun 2013
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I've just read this:

I've emailed them asking them to come to Bristol and make use of all our empty buildings - that's a major oversimplification of what I wrote, and I also mentioned Noel's article.

If anyone else from Bristol feels the same - Here's their emails:


Roland Fischer-Vousden - [email protected]

Joshua Field - [email protected]

Oliver Tobin - [email protected]

My email I sent:

Dear Mssrs Fischer-Vousden, Field and Tobin

I have just read a BBC article about your SET Space areas in London, and we are absolutely crying out for similar places in Bristol, we have only one or two places that provide such working areas for artists and they are not that cheap, one charging £30 per DAY, yet there are a great many empty buildings here, just as in London.

With Bristol having two universities, it's often the case that former students stay in Bristol as it's a "mini London" and having more spaces for artists and other creative people to work without all the restrictions in urban areas as mentioned in the BBC article would be an absolute godsend.

Personally I'm a creative woodworker - maker, a bit more complicated than other artists with machinery being involved, but I notice in the article that metalworkers are mentioned.

All these skills are dying out - with courses on such things like woodworking and metalworking especially being few and far between; often being run privately by former cabinetmakers who've learned there's more money in teaching than doing, costing many hundreds for just a weeks residential course, usually attended my middle aged men.

Workareas like your SET spaces, where these skills can be passed on from people who have spent years at thier craft - isn't just helpful - it's a NECESSITY if some skills are not to fade into history.

How many Coopers are left? A handful if that.

This is a REAL OPPORTUNITY, to foster skills and crafts in a place of creative enthusiasm, and at a price that is affordable to the everyday folk who would otherwise struggle to continue at commerical rates.

The topic of "can creative woodworking [and other crafts] be done fulltime and make a living" comes up time and again on many forums from younger folk and the general consensus is "not really - unless you can get to the point of making two or three items a year for £10,000 a piece" otherwise it's pretty much a subsistance living situation.

Creative woodworking, is not being a joiner fitting Kitchens, but things like this: - FOURTH MOVEMENT
ash wood, finished with color-shifting pearls (purple, blue) 35” diameter x 3.5”

Last tax year 2017-18 I made just £4,500 profit - that's £1,500 LESS than I would get from benefits, mainly due to the fact that I am under severe restrictions with sound as my "workshop" is a shed on the back of the house in a residential area.

I don't earn enough to afford a work area - I can't make more money to afford a work area, without a work area.

This is how it is for a lot of us, up and down the country.

There is also another reason such places are invaluable: ... mp_of_wood

The extraordinary power of a lump of wood - BBC News
On a quiet dockland street in the Govan area of Glasgow, not far from the banks of the Clyde, a wooden boat is slowly being sanded smooth to the sounds of local radio. The workshop is a space ...

Personally I think SET has an excellent business model and needs to be more aggressive in pursuing councils and landlords with empty buildings who just let them sit empty for fear that renting cheaper will devalue them - this way everyone wins and the property doesn't become derelict, from what I've read you seem to be adding amenities and maintaining the fabric of the building, better than leaving it empty would.

(for UKW readers commercial renting is an odd system IIRC, the value of the whole property is only equal to the average income of the last few years rental, then multiplied, low rent = low value, even though it's actual money in the bank - it's a stupid system IMHO).

How companies with properties that have been empty for several years since the 2008 financial crisis aren't kicking your door down I have no idea, more fool them.

I implore you to consider expanding to Bristol and then Cardiff, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool etc etc - it will help a LOT of people and may even save a few lives.

Yours Faithfully
Austin Hall.

Broke maker who became self employed, after 5 years unemployment after the 2008 crash.

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