The Platform provides a space for entrepreneurs and creatives – in a former public toilet

Loughborough Junction’s newest enterprise and creative space is now open – in a former public toilet.

The ex-lav in Wyck Gardens, which has also been a café since closing its stalls to the public, re-opened yesterday, Monday 28 July as ‘The Platform’, a completely refurbished space for people to try ideas and launch businesses. Over the next six months until Christmas, nine exciting projects will take up residence in The Platform on a rolling basis.

The first month-long project will be a thrift shop and workshop run by Recovery Arts, a Lambeth-based start-up. Anyone interested can pop by to browse the arts and crafts on sale – including clothing, homeware and jewellery. All the wares are donated or made in workshops that provide training and employment to vulnerable adults. So shoppers will be helping the local community too!

The other projects to follow over the six months will include a re-fill wholefoods and eco cleaning products business, an education support programme for Somali children, jewellery workshops, film and performance inspired by Samuel Beckett to celebrate Black History Month, creative visual, performance and fashion workshops for young people, a healthy-living Argan oil business, a second-hand kid’s bike shop and a women-led collective of local makers selling furniture, ceramics and textiles.

Full details of the programme are available on The Platform’s new website.

Every project using The Platform has been through The Platform Academy, a free training and development programme to make ideas work on the high street. Organisers, Meanwhile Space, have had a great response to the first round, and some really exciting collaborators will be taking part. The Academy will also launch again in the winter when The Platform will be asking people to apply to use the space in the New Year.

Funded by the J.P. Morgan Chase Foundation, and with the building provided rent-free by Lambeth Council, the project is being delivered by Meanwhile Space, which works with landlords, landowners, developers and local councils to reinvigorate disused shops, offices and cleared land to benefit local communities.

The scheme is part of a wider two-year project, working in collaboration with Lambeth Council, Network Rail and the Loughborough Junction Action Group to open up vacant spaces in Loughborough Junction.

Network Rail has also supported the project by offering seven arch properties for meanwhile use as a catalyst to effect positive change in the area. The arches are located along Rathgar Road and Ridgeway Road in Loughborough Junction.

If you’re interested in The Platform, the best thing to do is check the website, sign up to the newsletter and stop by to take a look for yourself. The Platform is at 2 Ridgway Road, just around the corner from Loughborough Junction station. Sign up to the mailing list to receive all the info about the project.

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