Eden Project and Ikea help Lancaster teens design new charity hub in city

Representatives from the firms were at the charity’s inaugural away day at Lancaster Castle on Saturday February 26.

The event was organised in conjunction with the Museum of Architecture and several local businesses with the aim of designing a state-of-the-art building in Lancaster for 11-to 18-year-olds.

Eden Project International will now use the designs created at the away day to produce visual concept drawings which will then be used in the planning of the building.

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Representatives from Ikea and the Eden Project supported Lancaster youths at an away day at Lancaster Castle where they drew designs for a state-of-the art-charity hub which Eden Project will use.

Cindy Soo, IKEA’s Director of Global Innovation and Co-Creation, told the young participants how impressed and inspired she was by them: “Escape2Make is the answer to the needs and aspirations of our youth today. Not only will the charity provide a safe space to create, share, and learn, but also a voice where our youth can continue to shape a brighter future for all of us. Our present and future realities depend on them.”

Members of the Eden Project International team, officials from regional and national youth services and representatives from local businesses also attended the event.

Eden Project International’s Head of Buildings, Gareth Jones, described the event as “inspiring, moving and fun” and said the organisation enjoyed working with “amazingly expressive and articulate kids, fizzing with ideas”.

During the day, the young people prepared detailed designs for their vision for every aspect of the building, from its ‘messy workshops’, relaxation spaces and the central heart of the building.

Gareth Jones Eden Project-Relaxation Areas Brainstorm.

Their building designs incorporated sustainability, functionality, and nature throughout, as well as welcoming different interests and approaches to use the building in harmony.

Escape2Make’s Architecture Group have been working with local firm HPA architects since 2019, to conceptualise the vision of the building.

Also in attendance were representatives from Lancaster City Council, Calico Group and SDG Changemakers – the catering was provided by Atkinsons.

The national body for youth work – the National Youth Association – also lent their support to Escape2Make.

The organisation’s Youth Work Specialist, Nicola Kelly, said “the little room in Lancaster Castle allowed the opportunity to dream” and described the event as “youth participation at its best”.

Jenny Natusch, Escape2Make’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “Access to a radically different, sustainable, state-of-the-art space designed for and by the district’s young people is vital”.

“Escape2Make’s unique model is proven to make a profound impact and this project will help prevent mental health problems and antisocial behaviour problems that costs society so dearly”.

Escape2Make (Charity No. 1835732) was founded by Jenny Natusch in 2018 and is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (Registered Charity Number 1183572) that aims to help all 11-18s in the Lancaster & Morecambe area to escape from boredom, social media, loneliness and any pressure at school or home by providing workshops and short courses hosted by local businesses, national businesses, local artists and university students. All the workshops and courses are designed to help young people make things, make friends and make a difference in the community.

The charity is trying to raise £10,000 to continue its weekly Architecture Club, which will lead the next stage of the building design.

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