Work is progressing well on our revised scheme for the new Foundry for the Onion Collective in Watchet. There is currently a series of public consultation events organised by the Onion Collective – details can be found on their web site.
Today has been an extraordinary eye-opening insight into what local communities can do for themselves. A couple of years ago we started working with the Onion Collective, a community interest company four amazing women established in their small town in West Somerset. They raised the money for the first piece of work – a master plan for the town which we completed a year or so ago, which identified several buildings to be completed over the next few years.
The first building set within that masterplan opened today – a new visitors centre for the town, which is an extension to the Brunel designed Boat Museum – which was also restored as part of the project. The Onion Collective not only raised all the money for the projects, but they now also have funding to get the new visitors centre up and running, which opened its doors today with new staff, employed via money obtained by the Onions. In September we’ll start work again on the next phases, again with money raised by the Onion Collective.
For us, and many others, the four Onions are an extraordinary testament to the power of community – and to the power of a strong minded and astonishingly capable group of women, trailblazing in showing how they really can change the world.
Onion Collective CIC organised an extraordinary weekend in Watchet where Piers Taylor, Charley Brentnall and Marc Dix of LT Studio led a workshop to construct, with up to 50 local volunteers a timber canopy and stage with a planted landscape that marked the reclaiming of the overgrown former pleasure gardens for community use.
The structure was made from a series of dry laminated green timber hoops that were bound together with jute rope and no mechanical fixings and few tools. These were bent into shape which effectively tightened the bindings, which will grow even stronger as the rope shrinks when wet and the timber seasons. Many of the volunteers were ‘unskilled’ in the formal sense – and the project is testament to the power of a community coming together to do something for itself.
See completed project images HERE