Since our doors opened in December 2017, our events calendar has placed an emphasis on providing a platform that helps creative people turn their talents into viable businesses.
One way this has been realised is through our work with Make Shift Create (formerly The Make Shift Foundation). As our charitable arm, Make Shift Create helps young creatives and entrepreneurs aged 16-25 years to pursue their ambitions through opportunity, experiences, training and networking. Between January 2019 and March 2020, Make Shift Create delivered 20 events including 4 Youth Markets and 4 Inspire Series in which they have directly engaged with and supported over 251 young people.
The Youth Market has filled Peckham Levels with budding creatives and entrepreneurs aged 16-25, who have often sold their products to the public for the first time. The popular event not only generates sales but helps to build the confidence of these first time businesses owners. The event itself is now largely organised and managed by young people who source new vendors, support with marketing and coordinate the logistics, which is an exemplary model for creating events with real social value.
Make Shift Create went an extra step further in 2019 by enlisting the support of Peckham Levels staff and Members, asking them to participate in a partnership with The Prince’s Trust and UpRising. While our site team provided tours designed to raise awareness of the range of employment opportunities for young people, our Members became an inspiring panel of experts to provide advice and feedback of business pitches presented by UpRising’s group of young people. Both events provided rich insight and value to the young people who participated.
One young person who was a participant in the programme told us:
“The Members who offered their time to speak to us were positive, engaging and treated us well…they gave genuine advice on how to run your own business. There was a good variety – jewellery, youth magazine, street food and so on. It was nice to be taken seriously.”
Make Shift Create have presented Peckham Levels with many opportunities to offer space, resources and time to local organisations. We’ve turned the lower ground floor car park into an immersive theatre set for The Awkward City Theatre and into an exhibition space for KCL’s Health and Inequalities Research Network, there is really nothing we haven’t tried!
In 2020, despite the doors to Peckham Levels being closed for most of the year, Make Shift Create has continued to deliver programmes and events virtually for their young beneficiaries.
For example a recent Mentor Black Business event, hosted by Make Shift Create. Peckham Levels Member Wayne of Fashtag discussed how Black businesses (and especially those with landlords affected by COVID-19) have implemented strategies to help their enterprises pivot and survive (and even thrive) in 2020. For Wayne, who began his Peckham Levels journey as a Supported Space Member, it was an opportunity to give back to the community that he has been so closely tied to, whilst also inspiring other Black businesses with the progress he has achieved this year.
2020 also saw Make Shift Create launch their online Youth Market. Having opened a store at Pop Brixton that was swiftly closed due to Lockdown restrictions, they moved the shop online giving young local makers and creators the opportunity to showcase and sell their wares.
We look forward to being able to host Make Shift Create and their inspiring young entrepreneurs here at Peckham Levels again in 2021.