The Boiler House (Sow the City)

Boiler House logo

Who are they?

The Boiler House is a former district power station just a mile from the centre of Manchester, repurposed as a community centre by Sow the City for making and mending. In the 1990s, the Boiler House operated as a power station for thousands of homes in Moss Side.

Workshop in the Boiler House

What do they do and why?

In May 2019, Manchester-based social enterprise Sow the City signed a 12-year lease on the building.

At the Boiler House, the aim is to provide free and low-cost use of tools, equipment and space for people and be a catalyst for people to reach their potential. The teams runs a variety of community workshops, providing skills for employment, improving health and wellbeing, developing a circular economy, and promoting gender and race equality.

The centre provides space for people of all ages and backgrounds to work together and participate in practical hands-on ways to shape their lives and communities. This could be as simple as making planters for growing veg at home, or as complex as developing collaborative art, or designing and fabricating new products. The team believe that everyone can participate given the right encouragement and support.

“The Social Investment Fund loan has been instrumental in enabling us to develop Sow the City’s new base at the Boiler House and establish new important traded income from the rental of workshops and venue hire here” - Jon Ross, Director, Sow the City

What funding did they receive?

They received an Access to Growth investment loan from GMCVO to complete phases 1 and 2 of their building refurbishment at the Boiler House.

Some of the loan acted as match funding for a Veolia Trust Environmental Grant that also contributed towards the building refurb. In total, this allowed them to invest around £100K into the building and establish it as the teams long term home, including office space and storage.

What impact has the funding had?

The funding meant they were able to invest in the Boiler House to create a new 40m2 office, a green roof, workshops and storage for the 350m2 building.

Sow the City measures its social impact in a number of ways including measuring the number of “learners”. This represents people that have attended Sow the City courses in the community and at the Boiler House itself. The number of learners has almost doubled since Sow the City moved into the Boiler House and now reached over 3,500 learners per year. 

Why not pay the Boiler House a visit? See their website for full details of upcoming workshops and activities:

Address: The Boiler House, 9 Wilcock Street, Manchester M16 7DA

Contact: / 0161 465 6954

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