'The Garden Shed' at Gibside

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Latest update 04.01.2013 11:18

Here at Gibside we have teamed up with Gateshead Council, on an exciting project offering free workplaces and support to local creative businesses at the heart of this historic visitor attraction.

We are launching ‘The Garden Shed’ at Gibside which will see a range of disused spaces and buildings around our 750 acre estate – from rooms in the Stables Learning & Discovery Centre, to farm cottages, and even canvas yurts – become workshops and display areas for local people, many of whom struggle to find affordable creative workspace in Gateshead.

‘The Garden Shed’ at Gibside is part of the Starter for Ten programme, which was established in 2009 by Gateshead Council with support from design guru Wayne Hemingway, the Arts Council of England North East and the Northern Rock Foundation. The programme aims to create opportunities to grow the creative sector in Gateshead that will, in turn, attract and retain talent and skills in the borough.

All the workspaces will be on the visitor route around the landscape park, which attracts around 120,000 guests each year, and it is hoped that in exchange for free accommodation and a chance to showcase or sell their work, the successful businesses will enhance the visitor experience by talking about their passions and potentially giving demos or hands-on activities at weekends.

It is anticipated that there will be considerable competition for the workspaces – with interest already from a variety of small enterprises and individuals, including wood craftsmen, textile designers and potters.

Those interested in being part of The Garden Shed should download an application pack from Gateshead Council's website. The first round of applications should be submitted by 8 April with short-listing taking place before a final selection in May.

Mick Wilkes, Gibside’s Property Manager talks enthusiastically about the partnership with Gateshead Council:
'Community benefit and visitor enjoyment go hand in hand with ‘The Garden Shed’ project. We are thrilled by the chance to bring life back into our historic buildings and landscape while supporting talented local artists, craftspeople and entrepreneurs. I know of no other National Trust site taking this approach and hope we can lead the way to other properties becoming more relevant and interlinked with their local communities.'

The council has a highly successful track record of culture-led regeneration and as part of the Starter for Ten programme, has already developed ‘The Shed’ in Gateshead town centre – a former retail space that now houses 36 creative businesses and where over 50 practitioners work – as well as supporting a local ‘community interest company’ in transforming a former church in Bensham into 12 workspaces for creative businesses.

Alan Jones, Economic Development Manager at Gateshead Council says:
'This new initiative continues our commitment to the creative sector and establishes a pioneering partnership between the National Trust and Gateshead Council. For creativity to thrive, creative people need space to be able to develop and work. Gibside offers an inspirational, unique setting for this and ‘The Garden Shed’ links directly with the Council’s wider strategy for the west of the borough.'

How to find out more or apply: