The team at a Cliftonville studio which offers classes in pottery, ceramics and sculpture have launched a fundraiser to renovate a new and bigger venue.
Clayspace has operated as a not-for-profit social enterprise from its studio in Northdown Road for seven years but now they are on the move to a building in Ethelbert Road.
The new site, which was once a bakery but has been used as garages for some 30 years, will mean more space and the opportunity to make sure it is accessible for all.
Clayspace was the creation of Ian Parsons and Bridget McVey who moved to Margate after visiting for the weekend in 2014.
Since then the enterprise has expanded with former class attendee Violet Shaw becoming part of the team and then a director.
The studio also has eight part-time teachers and Andy Potter who creates sculptures and raised the money to buy Clayspace a potters’ wheel a few years ago.
On the fundraising page Ian and Bridget say: “We’ve been really happy on the Northdown Road but the building isn’t as practical or functional as we need, and the opportunity is here for us to move just around the corner into a space on Ethelbert Road that’s full of potential.
“It needs a lot of love but it will allow us to create a truly accessible space where we will be able to welcome everyone in our wonderful community.”
The team fundraiser aims to help with the set-up costs so they can continue running their classes and courses for the community.
The building needs insulation, wiring, lighting, heating, plumbing and flooring to make it a welcoming and accessible space and to make it as sustainable and energy efficient as possible.
There’s room for a wheelchair accessible toilet and space in the studio for people with limited mobility to get comfortable and creative.
The Clayspace team has worked with schools in Thanet, including St Anthony’s, Bradstow, Palm Bay Primary, and Drapers Mills.
They have also run workshops with organisations including The Garden Gate Project, Ageless Thanet, East Kent Mencap, Ethelbert Children’s services, Pilgrims Hospice and Margate Pride.
The pair say: “Better and safer access in the new building will allow us to reach members of the community who would not have been able to use the previous studio.”
Clayspace, which started rent payments for the new site this month, has started clearing the space, ripping out old wiring and opening up some of the blocked off windows. They hope to open in January.
The fundraiser has a £20,000 target and there are rewards on offer for certain donation amounts.