Lorena Hodgson, Creative Director of Wisbech Projects CIC, was asked by Ray and Jan Wicks the owners of Etcetera if she was interested in taking on the shop to help her work in the community. Following conversations over the last few years with a few local organisations/groups Lorena is part of or linked to, bringing them together in a central Hub soon came to mind.
With operating the shop itself limited due to covid restrictions, it is an ideal opportunity to collect ideas and work with Ray, Jan and also T J Moll and Becky D’Aloia-Titmarsh who were operating their businesses within the shop, and see where it could lead us!
To start with, Lorena got in contact with district and county council officers and community leaders to see if the ideas discussed were of interest and to work on a plan to share the concept with those who had expressed an interest in previous plans (stopped due to covid).
Excitingly, even though we’re in a new lockdown and so unable to meet in person, the plan has already led to proposals of using the Studio as well as discussions over re-use of the shop space (without losing Etcetera favourite product lines!)
While these may all take a while to come to fruition, not least because of uncertainly over meeting face to face, even after lockdown eases, the concept was interesting enough for a recent National Lottery fund and we were awarded the full amount we asked for!
Some of this will be used to set up the project office, making a few minor adjustments to the interior; some will be used to set up digital access for meetings and software to show and talk with potential collaborators and hirers of the studio, training and retail areas. We will be purchasing equipment to ensure a safe visit for when we can open and printing leaflets and posters to promote it to a wider audience.
The Post Office and Cafe are in the capable hands of Kerry and Tracey and will continue operating as allowed by government rules and will continue to be great assets to the town as well as to the Hub itself.
If you would like to partner with the Hub, whether as a user of any of the potential areas, or as a supporter, or as one of the “spokes” of the Hub – we intend to be a useful centre of information for the town, helping locals and visitors alike to find what they need – please do get in touch via the Contact page!