Make:Shift’s on the move, and you needn’t miss a thing

A couple of week’s ago I blogged about all the exciting things we have planned for Make:Shift 2017, and the great news is that you can keep up to date  from the comfort of your mobile phone, tablet or PC. Of course we’ll be having the usual face to face get togethers in the lead up to the event but by getting involved online, you can contribute to the development of this year’s event between face to face meetings.

I’m sure that most of our Make:Shift network is on Facebook, but have you liked our Make:Shift page yet? All our blogs are posted directly there and Facebook is great way of us communicating and networking together and finding out what is going on in Wolverhampton and beyond. Do like our page and please let us know about anything you have going on and we’ll give that a plug for you too. On a purely selfish note, the more people that like the page, the wider our reach, so please do give us a go:


For a number of reasons (I won’t bore you with the details), we have switched the Make:Shift Twitter account from @makeshiftevent to @MakeShiftWolves, so if you were following the old account, please do transfer across to the new one. We’d love to see you there and we’re planning to do much more on this channel in 2017.


Looking forward to seeing you in cyberspace.


Make:Ready – it’s Make:Shift time again

We’ve already started gearing up for Make:Shift, Wolverhampton’s annual ideas festival, with the 2017 event aiming to bigger and better than ever before.

Make:Shift is all about supporting local people to make great things happen in Wolverhampton. You put forward the ideas about what you’d like to see and we provide lots of encouragement and support by linking you up with other people in the city that can help you to make your idea happen.


No idea is too big or too small. In fact, the smallest ideas can often make the biggest difference. Here at Make:Shift we firmly believe that once you get a few people working on ideas in an area, it will make life better for everyone.

This year we want to support you to create easily accessible and convenient opportunities for people to take part in community activities that can make a difference.

These ideas might include:

  • Community spaces for wild flower planting. Lovely for us to look at and great for bees and other wildlife too


  • Informal skill sharing opportunities
  • Community cooking projects


  • Working together to repair things that might otherwise be thrown away and end up in landfill
  • Other things you can think of


This year we are planning to ramp up our support to you through our:

  • Make:Ready sessions, where we invite you to tell us about your idea and share your practical skills


  • Make:Inspiration lunchtime sessions, where we seek inspiration from videos, speakers and ourselves in order to stimulate brilliant ideas
  • Make:Soup. The idea behind Soup is to gather people to share a simple meal, participants donate a small sum, say £5. The income generated will be given as a grant to support a creative project that is chosen by you and the other participants. Not only that, it is a great opportunity to network and gain support for your idea too.


  • Make:Do sessions. At Make:Shift itself we want an emphasis on supporting you to make things happen so we want to showcase and ask people to share their skills in practical grass roots activities such as growing things together, cooking, upcycling, crafting, community singing and community building.


Interested? Watch out for ways to get involved and diary dates coming out very soon …

In case you’d forgotten, Wolverhampton is fab …

Make:Shift is unabashedly,  unashamedlyabout Wolverhampton. Here at Make:Shift HQ, we’re rightly proud of our city, and Make:Shift itself is about celebrating all things Wolverhampton.


So imagine our joy at finding this amazing site, Wolves Beat, which is dedicated to extolling the virtues about how great we are. And let’s face it, there’s no better feeling than that.

So take a look and check out some of Wolverhampton’s most famous sons and daughters and perhaps, like me, you’ll be a little surprised at one or two of them.

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

Brains Wanted! By Will Ashworth

Yes, that’s right you read correctly. We want your brain, and we want it to come up with an idea that could change the place in which we live for the better. This is because, if you didn’t know already, this year’s Make:Shift is fast approaching – Wolverhampton’s IDEAS festival!

Have you ever wondered about how Wolverhampton could be improved? Or thought about undertaking a community project, but haven’t known how you would start such a thing? It’s probably safe to say we all have, but short of knocking on doors and running for election, it could seem like there is little you could do about it.

That’s where Make:Shift comes in. It is your chance to pitch your idea to those in our community that share your determination.


But how does it work? I hear you cry.

Well, Make:Shift is run as an ‘unconference’. This means that there is no pre-set agenda, meaning it is all decided on the day. If you have an idea, you can pitch it to the room and after that it can be discussed, mulled over, pulled apart, and put back together again all on the same day! This might sound a bit daunting, but remember that everyone has the same goal as you do – to make our city a better place. You may even be able to find people with similar ideas and collaborate with them to turn them into a reality.


You may also be asking, if don’t have an idea, is my brain useless?

Well, no! If you are interested in what Make:Shift is all about then you are more than welcome to come along and listen to everyone’s ideas, and throw in your own if you get some last minute inspiration. Added to which, there will also be free food and drinks provided. Woo hoo!

What to do next –

This year Make:Shift will be held on October 15 10:00 a.m – 4:00 p.m. at the Old School, Dudley Road, Blakenhall.

You can get your free ticket here.