Great ideas at a great event

The ideas were flowing at Make:Shift 2016 on Saturday as people from across the city shared their thoughts on how to ‘Change Wolverhampton with an Idea’.

Participants also received funding and business advice, and got involved in workshops designed to inspire people to create or enhance their own ideas.


Ideas put forward at the event included:

  • skills sharing sessions where people can share any skill at all, from meditation to knitting
  • a follow up Make:Shift event in November to support people to come up with new ideas (details below)
  • a series of smaller Make:Shift get togethers in various parts of the city to engage people in localities
  • using networks such as the Ethnic Minority Council and the Interfaith Network to help reach out to new Make:Shift members

These activities will now be supported by the council’s economic inclusion team.


Kim Harris was also on hand to display her hand made wood turned items which are now available to buy.


Councillor John Reynolds, Cabinet Member for City Economy, said: “Make:Shift is in its fifth year and continues to be a truly inspirational forum.


“The people of Wolverhampton never let us down when it comes to creativity – and we are delighted we can help foster the wealth of ideas put forward.

“Plans are already underway to expand the impact of Make:Shift all year round.”

Ideas from previous events that have taken off, include:

  • the Camera Obscura at Boundary Way Allotments – a space that encourages people to slow down and stop and stare at the beauty of the everyday
  • the Social Steam Engine – an organisation working with people with mental health issues and learning disabilities that provides community activities by encouraging people to pool their direct payments
  • Gatis Community Space – space on the site of the former adventure playground in Whitmore Reans, which encourages the whole community to have pride in their neighbourhood, have fun, get healthier, learn new things and break down any cultural barriers which may exist


The Wolverhampton Voluntary Sector Council will be hosting an Active Community Session as a follow up to the Make:Shift event, at its Temple Street base, on Tuesday 8 November, between 12pm and 2pm.

For more information about this and Make:Shift please contact Sam Axtell (Tuesdays to Thursdays) on 01902 554918 or email



Make:Shift 2016 is here!

It’s been a long time coming but Make:Shift will be happening tomorrow from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. at The Old School Dudley Road, Blakenhall, Wolverhampton. 

We know that we’ve got some great people coming along to pitch their idea for changing Wolverhampton. We’ll also hear from some of the people who are already doing that, having pitched their idea in previous years. To add to the fun they’re all going to be pitching in two minutes!

 Pot luck

This year we will be carrying on making links into things that are already going on that can support your efforts. So we’ll be having some input on how to turn your idea into an enterprise, what more the Council can do to support community-led ventures, what funding is available to support your ideas and other great local initiatives like Creative Monday and the Junction Arts Festival.



As always there will be drinks and biscuits on tap all day and a delicious free lunch.


You bring the Make:Shift magic and I’ll bring the projector!


Just turn up if you like or book your free ticket here.


Can’t wait for tomorrow!


The Social Steam Engine – a great idea open to everyone. By Will Ashworth

As you may have already noticed, here at Make:Shift we have a passion for anything that benefits the communities we live in. However, the various projects that have sprung up over that last couple of years have invariably been the passions of the most confident and tenacious people around. And this is a good thing of course. We rely on these people to keep pushing our communities forward (and also hope that they come to October 15 Make:Shift event!) But what about those people, who might want and need the benefits of community activity, but are not in the position to create it for themselves? Those people that are unfortunate enough to be held back by either mental, sensory, or physical health needs?

This was a problem that was spotted by care worker Hiran Patel who started the Social Steam Engine Community Association, a social care micro enterprise with the aim of giving back control to those receiving social services. Hiran recognised that the people who needed these services were at risk of becoming institutionalised if they were not provided with services that included the user’s choice.


In order to achieve this, and after some advice from people he met at Make:Shift, Hiran decided to operate it using a pooled budget model. A system where service users could save up money and support to be used for a regular joint activity. Many of these activities have had a decidedly scientific slant, with the group even securing a grant in 2014 and help from the Institute of Physics. Recently they have rebuilt a broken nitro car and undertaken a project on rockets! They have also ventured into the world of photography, with an art project run with the help of Creative Black Country.


This is what Make:Shift is all about. Giving everybody, no matter who they are, the opportunity to make Wolverhampton better!


Get your free ticket here