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Rochford District Council has leased a former sports pavilion to East Essex Hackspace, to provide an exciting new community workshop space.
The site at Clements Hall Recreation Ground, Hawkwell, will be used to provide a ‘maker space’ for anyone interested in technology, and enable the sharing of knowledge within the local community.
The pavilion is currently vacant as the surrounding grounds are not used as sports pitches, so there is no use for a changing room.
The council will invest in repair works to the roof and external masonry. It will be leased on a 7-year term at a ‘peppercorn rent’ of £1 per year to East Essex Hackspace who will be responsible for maintaining the building.
Rochford District Council’s portfolio holder, Cllr Simon Wootton, said: “This is a wonderful opportunity to transform a vacant building into a space that can really benefit the local community, and as a Council we are always seeking to make the most of the assets that we own.
“I’m truly excited to see how East Essex Hackspace transform this disused site into a workshop for everyone to enjoy hobbies, activities and skill sharing.”
East Essex Hackspace has already been a part of the Open Doors project at the Kings Head pub, in Rochford Market Square, where they run workshops on a Thursday from 7pm to 9pm. Past sessions have covered everything from 3D printing, to virtual reality, to dim sum making.
Tim Neobard, of East Essex Hackspace said “ Hackspaces are community-based workshops offering the opportunity to learn new skills, make things, repair and reuse as well as make new friends and socialise. EEH was setup by a small group of enthusiasts as whilst there’s plenty of sporting clubs, there’s not many opportunities to make and build things.
“We’re very excited about this new opportunity. For the last 7 months we’ve met at “Open Doors” in Rochford at the former King’s Head, offering taster sessions for what we will be running in Hawkwell Pavilion. We’ll be sad to leave open doors but it’s very much helped to build up awareness to us and a regular base whilst starting up.
“We aren’t hogging the new building to ourselves for exclusive use. We’ve been busy drawing together the community and offering to share the space with other community groups, such as the U3A, Junior Park Run, Remap (a charity that creates custom items to help disabled people live independent lives),
“Rochford Eco (part of Eco Essex) and Crouch Valley Scouts. Hackspace will be open to all with sessions running evenings and weekends which will also help keeping a presence around the area and hopefully reduce anti social behaviour too.”