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Blackburn Is Open - The Making Rooms

2015 is an exciting year for Blackburn as it will see the opening of The Making Rooms, a unique facility that brings together art and technology.

Making will put Blackburn on the map.

Blackburn is set to become a centre for entrepreneurial talent after news that its state of the art technology and manufacturing hub will go ahead.

Arts Council England has announced a grant for the new facility called The Making Rooms that will help put the town back on the map as a place for start-up businesses and manufacturing innovation.

One of the only facilities of its kind in the country it will be equipped with cutting edge equipment such as 3D printers and small scale manufacturing machinery that will allow people to test and try out new ideas.

It will also host a technology hub for new businesses to use as a work space as well as hosting courses, events and groups based around digital innovation.

In addition there will be studios, workshops and exhibition spaces for artists and craftspeople, as well as provision for artist residences for both local and international artists.

It will offer training in collaboration with school and colleges and local businesses.

The project has been driven by Blackburn with Darwen Council through Blackburn is Open, a creative regeneration scheme backed by Arts Council England.

Set to see a complete renovation of the empty Bentleys building on Exchange Street, formerly a bank, it will incorporate the best ideas from similar facilities around the world and is one of only two such projects in the country.

Councillor Andy Kay, said: “We are absolutely delighted that this fantastic scheme will now get off the ground. This is a perfect project for Blackburn where we’ve got so many talented young people just crying out for an opportunity like this and now they will get access to the best equipment and expert advice available.

“The Making Rooms is key to our regeneration plans for our town centre which include schemes like the Cathedral Quarter and the new leisure centre that will see it completely transformed over the next couple of years.”

Creative Director of Blackburn is Open, entrepreneur and designer Wayne Hemingway MBE will be advising on the design for the scheme.

He said:  “I’m delighted that Blackburn is leading the way with a facility like The Making Rooms.

“To thrive town centres need to change to become places where people don’t just come to shop but also to work, to create and to be entertained. The Making Rooms is perfect for this and will be buzzing with talented and creative people launching their careers and helping drive the town forward.”

Paul Earnshaw of BAE Systems, manufacturer and local employer welcomed the creation of The Making Rooms.

“It is fantastic to see such an innovative facility, which will undoubtedly encourage the next generation of engineers and entrepreneurs, being created in the area.  Blackburn with Darwen should be congratulated on establishing this facility.”

The project is funded by Arts Council England, the Lancashire Economic Partnership and backed by Blackburn with Darwen Council.

If you’d like to get involved you can contact Blackburn Is Open on ideas@blackburnisopen.co.uk.