54 year old Craft Central Announces Wind Up


Craft Central Announces Wind Up

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Craft Central, formerly known as the Clerkenwell Green Association announced this week that very sadly it has no choice but to wind up its operations and close the 54 year old charity.

With its origins and former home at Pennybank Chambers, Clerkenwell, the organisation was spread across two buildings close to Farringdon and home to an array of designer makers, crafts people and allied trades. From 1970 to 2017 the organisation ran affordable workshop spaces, open studio events and had exhibition space providing a route to market for the sale of works.

Because of its location, practically over the road from Hatton Garden, its workshop spaces were predominantly inhabited by jewellers and associated allied crafts. It provided space for many of the well known names we know today and esteemed makers.

After a re-brand in 2008, from ‘Clerkenwell Green Association’ to ‘Craft Central’, the lease of the two buildings a stones’ throw from the Craft Council in Islington and for jewellers, a short walk to the Assay Office in Gutter Lane, saw the organisation move out of Central London to the Isle of Dogs in 2017.

Last month we saw the closure of the Scottish Goldsmiths Trust charity, and only weeks ago the liquidation of Ingle and Rhode, the ethical jeweller, as well as many other businesses within the sector. This is testament to not only the harsh trading conditions on the high street, but also the demise of funding avenues for charities which ‘prop up’ the sector who provide much needed support.

In addition the loss of such precious light industrial B2 grade physical affordable workshop accommodation for jewellery, silversmithing and the allied trades, as well and the multitude of crafts disciplines which the organisation has supported in years gone by is compounded. Before this week’s announcement, the charity was home to 100 artists, designer-makers, and creative businesses.

In an additional blow, the Graduate Support Programme which offered an annual fully funded studio for emerging makers will also disappear from the opportunities for those entering the sphere – the next generation.

In a statement released this week, the Trustees and staff wrote:

“It is with great sadness and regret that we are writing to inform you that Craft Central will cease to trade on 29 February 2024.

You may be aware that that the organisation has experienced extreme financial difficulties since moving from our building in Clerkenwell Green in 2017, which were further compounded by the effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic, rising costs, particularly utility bills, and a decline in funding for arts and crafts in the UK. The staff and Trustees worked incredibly hard to keep the charity afloat during these challenging years.

As a team, we have implemented several measures to improve the financial resilience of Craft Central. Those measures have extended the period of time during which we could continue operating but were not sufficient to secure the long-term sustainability of the organisation which would have required a radical rework of the business model and further funding.

We understand that this will have an impact on so many of the craftspeople we have supported over the years and the community as a whole. We recognise the disappointment and frustration that many of you will be experiencing and we would like to thank you all for your support these past few years, through good times as well as challenging times.

With heartfelt sadness,
The Craft Central Trustees and Staff”


Rebecca van Rooijen


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