Social business Make CIC is starting the new year with an exciting new vision, having bought the former Riverside Housing HQ on Argyle Street to create a permanent home for its creative community in Birkenhead.
Make helps people “turn their passions into prosperity” by providing studio space for people who might otherwise be working from home, alongside a programme of workshops, exhibitions and support.
The vision for the new site includes creative, cultural and community space, and better facilities for tenants. It will also feature a café, a roof garden (in the build’s second phase) and the bees, honey and hops that visitors will be familiar with from Make’s current home.
Alongside the building, Make is also purchasing a nearby car park on Lorn Street, which will become the new home of its community garden.
The building purchase is funded via Town Deal, which will see up to £25m invested in the regeneration of Birkenhead. The new Make building will become the centrepiece of what’s called the ‘Argyle Street Creative Hub’, which will support the creative and cultural sector in Birkenhead.
Founded in 2012, the Argyle Street building is Make’s fifth across Liverpool City Region. It also has a large warehouse-based space in Liverpool’s North Docks, two in Huyton, including a maker space and a workshop venue and its current home in Hamilton Square.
Once Argyle Street has been refurbished, local charity Open Door will take over the Treasury Building, transforming it into its new home, called the Joy Centre. The building’s interior is being stripped, ahead of building work starting in January. Refurbishment is due to be finished for a move-in date in summer 2024, which will see it come back to life as a vibrant, creative hub.
Liam Kelly, Make’s Chief Executive Officer, said, “Make is excited to share the news that we’ve been able to purchase this building for the creative community of Wirral. We will move our current hive of activity down the road to bring Argyle Street to life, alongside our new neighbours Future Yard.
“These are really exciting times for Wirral and Birkenhead, and we look forward to inviting you all in when we open later this year.”
Kirsten Little, Chief Operations Officer at Make, said, “After four years of dedication and perseverance, the realisation of permanence in Birkenhead marks a significant milestone for Make. Stemming from the triumph of Wirral Borough of Culture and the unwavering support of Wirral Council, we’ve achieved a remarkable feat as an art organisation – the acquisition of our own building.
“Often artists are faced with a very different picture, one where temporary or meanwhile spaces means being moved on from the very environments we’ve added colour to. To be able to put down permanent roots is a massive stride for an organisation like our own.”
Make’s new home is vital for its long-term planning. It gives the local creative community long-term security and keeps more money locally to reinvest in that community, programmes and workshops. The roots of founders Kirsten Little and Liam Kelly are both in Wirral, and they found a temporary home in Hamilton Square’s Treasury Building, which they began leasing from Wirral Council in 2019.
Lead image: Kirsten & Liam outside Make Hamilton 2.0