DCSIMG

Not goodbye but farewell for We Are Bedford

b12-467 We Are Bedford have worked with Stimpsons Eves estate agents to create a pop up shop in Church Arcade like the ones which were in Castle Quay as a way of filling empty shop space.

L-R Kayte Judge co-founder of We Are Bedford and Joanne McGirl commercial agent for Stimpsons Eves

b12-467 We Are Bedford have worked with Stimpsons Eves estate agents to create a pop up shop in Church Arcade like the ones which were in Castle Quay as a way of filling empty shop space. L-R Kayte Judge co-founder of We Are Bedford and Joanne McGirl commercial agent for Stimpsons Eves

From bringing empty shop units back into use, to founding new magazines and creative groups, We Are Bedford has made its mark on our town.

But after two years the group is now being wound down as the organisers concentrate on other projects.

Co-founder Erica Roff said she was proud of We Are Bedford’s legacy.

She said: “My highlight was seeing hundreds of people at the Castle Quay Weekender, back in March 2011.

“It was the first event we did, and we thought it might just be our friends who turned up. Instead it was amazing.”

We Are Bedford has been responsible for the using a number of empty store units in Bedford town centre for ‘pop-up shops’, the last two being the comic store and a record shop in the former Macbride & Groom premises in Mill Street.

Its projects have also helped to spawn groups such as The Circus Of Illustration, whose members met through We Are Bedford, plus the monthly community magazine the Bedford Clanger.

We Are Bedford’s work played a part in Bedford securing a share of £1.2million in from the Portas Pilot project to reinvigorate the town centre.

The We Are Bedford website, Facebook and Twitter sites will continue.

And both Erica and fellow founder Kayte Judge will now work with Dan Thompson of the Empty Shops Network, helping Bedford Borough Council to develop its Empty Shops Strategy.

Kayte said: “The end of We Are Bedford is a positive thing, we have shown what can be done with a very limited budget and a lot of enthusiasm.

“This was the natural time to stop. It was only last month we had the Oxjam festival in town, which was down to one woman and a massive team of volunteers, and this week we had another Drink And Draw event by the Circus Of Illustration who met through We Are Bedford.

“These are things being done at a sustainable level and I hope they will continue.”

 

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