Valley Community Workspace (VCW) is a co-working hub for sustainable, innovative ventures, skill-sharing, creativity and community led development and education, based at 11 Allen Street in North East Valley, Dunedin.
This former automotive workshop and museum was no longer in use. When the owner, Matt Jennings, offered it to Oil Free Otago for electric car conversions in 2015, they put the word out to other local community minded individuals and groups to share the space, an opportunity that was eagerly seized!
In the first 6 months, we established a governance group, got to know each other better, become an incorporated society, significantly spruced up the old garage space, and sought out other community-minded, ‘green’ innovators to join us.
From the beginning, we loved the idea of being a ‘do-ocracy’. We’ve held regular bike fix-its/skill-sharing workshops, and given people the chance to try out electric and recumbent bikes, or take a smooth ride in an electric car. Thanks to Makerspace we’ve seen how 3-D printers can turn a ‘waste’ product (whey) into specific parts, enabling ‘broken’ equipment to be fixed. We’ve promoted converting cars to electric, and invited people to join workshops to learn about what’s involved. Recent additions to the Workspace bring more tools and expertise for craft, making and fixing. In April 2016 the Valley Project, a charity in NEV, bought the building, thanks to a grant from the Department of Internal Affairs.
The VCW’s rent payments now go back to the Project to help support the community workers and local newsletter. The DIA also granted some money for improvements, strengthening the west wall and installing a heating system. To get resource consent, other changes are in the pipeline, for example, providing a wheelchair accessible toilet. We’re looking forward to this building work being completed in 2017 so local weaver and VCW member, Christine Keller, can set up her workshop, the Loom Room.