Skills for life

Funding level: £10,001 to £25,000


Herefordshire has the second lowest wages in the UK, the least affordable house prices, is the 4th most rural county in the UK, 50% of the population is 50+, and the county has a net loss of 300 – 400 young people each year. These factors result in Herefordshire having some serious social economic problems.
When James Baker graduated in 2011 he could not find work and could not continue his practice. Understanding others were in the same position he created Hereford Make to be an equipped workshop to help the community with achieving personal and professional goals. Now having a well equipped forge and a flexible studio space the site is regularly used by public, students, youth services, graduates and established practitioners. These resources are used to help address the larger problems by trying to increase wages and retain young people and help smaller problems by bring different groups of the community in 1 space to interact with each other. Such benefits have included increased well being, skill sharing and cross agency participation.
To continue addressing the problems faced by the county Hereford Make has identified the lack of opportunity for the community to access high end, industry standard equipment. The equipment includes large format printer, large format scanner, video recording equipment and IT suite (a mixture of PC’s and MAC’s with specialist software).
The positive impact of this equipment will manifest in a number of ways. The community will be able to create business plans, cash flow and write application opening up new opportunities for people to take advantage of. The combination of the large format scanner and printer increases productivity, enables portfolio building and diversifies product range of makers. This increases income for the individual, through selling more work or able to get better jobs, increasing quality of life. The video recording equipment lets people who are not as academically inclined record their evidence for qualifications, makers to create videos to help market themselves and Make to create video tutorials. The tutorials will disseminate information on processes, techniques and other useful knowledge to the rural population helping more than just the residents Hereford.
This facility is sustainable by a rental model for individuals or groups paying for a fix amount of time. Hereford Make offers cheap access to the equipment but if individuals or groups do struggle to pay Hereford Make assists them with bid writing, which we do not charge for, to gain appropriate finances ensuring no financial barrier to progress a person’s development without compromising the sustainability of the facility.
The success of the project is created in 3 ways. Purchasing the right equipment to address the needs of the community. Working with several community organisations, educational institutions and local networks to target the right people who need and can use these opportunities. Working with skilled individuals that can pass on their experience using methods suitable for the community. This combination will enable people to reach their full potential, sustain the facility and help address the social economic problems faced by the population of Herefordshire.
Hereford Make is a public access forge that lets people follow personal projects. Due to this we have attracted makers from Bristol, Manchester and London. The addition of these resources will further best practice by letting makers concepts go to creation by being highly productive at each stage of their process. This opportunity works with the educational and economic strengths of the county having the only art college in the west midlands and the National School of Blacksmith. This would be an original solution stemming from unique circumstances.
For a selection of videos of activities undertaken please use the following link:

Hereford Make Community Interest Company

Moment of Pride

This organisation been able to achieve a lot but the founder has done so in spite being disadvantaged by being disabled (Autism), lacking conventional support other similar facilities get and addressing the problems faced by the community rather than the symptoms, a much larger task.

Location: Hereford