Youth charity joins forces with Eden Project to design new base for young people in Lancaster

A Lancaster youth charity has teamed up with the Eden Project to design a place where young people can be creative in our local area.

Escape2Make was joined by representatives from Eden Project International and Swedish furniture giant IKEA at the charity’s first ever away day, held at Lancaster Castle on Saturday.

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.

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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”.

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,” she said.

“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.”

Officials from regional and national youth services and representatives from local businesses also attended the event.

Also in attendance were representatives from Lancaster City Council, Calico Group and SDG Changemakers.

Escape2Make was founded by Jenny Natusch in 2018 with the aim of creating kind, welcoming and safe spaces that allow 11-18-year-olds to escape and make things, make friends and make a difference.

Eden Project International is currently planning to build the Eden Project North, a Morecambe-based version of its highly popular Cornwall-based attraction.

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