ONE of the most concrete legacy projects to emerge from Limerick’s year as City of Culture will celebrate its first anniversary this Thursday night.
From humble beginnings the Limerick Craft Hub on Cecil Street has grown to support over 50 highly skilled crafts people from across the Mid-West.
The ‘hub’ is effectively the shop window for artisan producers who are unable to afford their own units for sales, and at the same time it is also teaching people a variety of skills through ongoing workshops.
Clare Jordan, manager of the Craft Hub, said they are delighted to be achieving this milestone in business, but said the threat of closure is always hanging over them, much like any business in its infancy.
“It’s a huge milestone for us, and we have surpassed all expectations for footfall and our number of transactions. We have had about 6,000 people through our doors to date, including 1,000 in July alone. Tourist numbers coming through the door are definitely up, and we are working with Failte Ireland to improve those numbers, and the Limerick Marketing company.
“What appeals to people is that we’re not just a shop, but a working studio as well. It’s a huge attraction for visitors,” she explained.
The hub has also recently been included in the new Design Ireland app produced by Irish Design 2015.
A recent crowd surfing appeal has not raised the “ambitious” target of €14,000, however there is still a week to go to donate, and smaller appeals may be run in the future to ensure the hub can batten down the hatches and survive. “We are extremely grateful for all the donations, and all philanthropists are welcome to come in,” she said, with a laugh.
She said the non-for-profit organisation can provide a much needed service for graduates of Limerick School of Art and Design, Limerick College of Further Education and local ceramists. “We want to continue the excitement and new burst of life that Limerick City of Culture brought to the people of Limerick.”
She admitted the hub is running on a deficit every month, but she said what the hub offers to the community, in terms of social interaction and learning new skills, is priceless. “We have so many beautiful, original gifts in store, and we would really encourage people to come in, see what we have to offer, sign up to a course or buy a Christmas present here.”
Among the items they stock are by knitwear designs by Kate (Katarzyna) Ramsey and chocolates by MoonRiver, with bespoke gifts for the home for sale from €3 up to €350.
The celebration, to be attended by the mayor, will be held this Thursday in Lower Cecil Street, at 6.30pm.