Save Our Story

The Story of designermakers21, the home of designermakersCIO

A unique blend of excellent craft, educational interest and warm, welcoming atmosphere

designermakersCIO was established to promote, improve and advance the education in, and appreciation of the arts. This is achieved through the facilitation and management of workshops and training courses in different design and craft skills, along with direct public access to craft workers’ studios and work, with the aim of engaging people of all ages through creative arts.

Our mission is to facilitate opportunities for Education in the Arts

To achieve this mission we have developed designermakers21 at 21 St Nicholas street Diss to be a nexus of craft excellence; nurturing and promoting the practice and appreciation of traditional & contemporary crafts.

The aim is for craft workers to educate and involve the community in all things craft while continuing to excel in their fields of expertise, providing visitors with an experience to remember.

It is the diligent efforts of the combined membership of designermakers21 that have cultivated and sustained this unique makers’ space, enabling designermakersCIO to meet its stated objects; “…to nurture and promote the appreciation of traditional and contemporary crafts..”, in Diss and beyond.

designermakers21 is the home of designermakersCIO: Building, location, members and visitors, create the cultural ecology that makes 21 St. Nicholas street unique.

We have been given advance warning that our Landlords are intending to sell 21 St. Nicholas street. We were told 3 years ago, but then Covid happened and funding streams for capital expenditure dried up. Post Covid recovery has been slow and so we now find ourselves with 12 months left to raise the necessary funds to purchase 21 St. Nicholas street.
The Landlords, who have been very supportive of our makers community over the past 10 years, have expressed a preference for us to purchase the building and have extended our lease until December 2023 to help us achieve this.

The building was recently valued, by the Landlord’s estate agents Clarke & Simpson, at £250,000, subject to verification by the Charity Commission in terms of value for money. This low valuation reflects the significant essential renovation works estimated to be in excess of £100,000, identified both in a 2019 market appraisal report and a 2022 Buildings survey, commissioned by designermakersCIO.

‘Save Our Story’ let’s buy this Building

The initial goal; to raise £350,000

  • 21 St. Nicholas street is well suited to a wide range of activities and has the potential for future development.
  • The location opposite the Corn Hall in Diss works well to allow us to attract passing footfall as well as continuing to engage with regular customers.
  • The purchase of the building will render all rent paid currently into usable assets to facilitate the necessary building repairs.
  • The reinvestment of rents into building improvement will convert currently unused spaces into workshops, increasing designermakersCIO’s capacity to deliver on its stated objects.

If we cannot raise the necessary funds by the end of 2023 then designermakers21 will cease to be a centre of craft excellence, 21 St. Nicholas street will most likely end up as just another empty shop. There will be:

  • no more workshops
  • no more open access studios
  • no more galleries exhibiting craft items for free public access
  • no more community events
  • no more work with schools and young people
  • no more work with vulnerable and disadvantaged people.
  • one less reason for people to visit Diss

How are we doing so far?

We currently have a number of pending applications with major fund giving trusts and organisations that will cover the bulk of the initial sum.

To enhance our grant applications we need to demonstrate local support for designermakers21 the home of designermakersCIO. Support can be shown in a number of ways:

  • Attend our events, a programme is available here
  • Visit designermakers21, we’re open Thursday, Friday & Saturday 10 – 5 pm
  • Become a ‘Friend of designermakersCIO’ , details can be found on our ‘How you could help’ page here where you’ll also find a sign-up form for our quarterly newsletter.
  • Make a donation to our online ‘Save Our Story’ campaign at JustGiving, if you are a tax payer then your donation could easily be increased 25% by ticking the ‘Gift Aid’ box. click on this image:

Please support our efforts to secure the future of designermakers21 the home of designermakersCIO