2022 has been a year of change for Baltic Creative CIC. Our team has changed and we’ve welcomed more new businesses to our creative and digital community.
One thing that hasn’t changed is the resilience of our sector. Throughout another year of crisis, and new challenges for SMEs to deal with, we’ve witnessed businesses fight, and some even thrive. Entering into 2023, we couldn’t be prouder of our community for their strength and adaptability.
For us, we’ve been focussed on our existing services and how we can deepen the support we provide. We’re starting the new year with new leadership and refreshed motivations! Our CEO, Lynn Haime, told us her personal goals for the year ahead:
“I’d like to ensure that as a team, we continue to provide the best environment for the creative and digital sector to thrive. We’ll build on the services already in place; supporting businesses, adapting to trends and enhancing where possible. I also want to focus on strengthening existing partnerships and relationships, whilst forging new ones. We’ll look for opportunities where we can give support or enable connections that the community can benefit from. In terms of growth, we’re hoping to expand locally and in locations further afield where we can add value, providing spaces and support for creative businesses.”
What will 2023 bring for Baltic Creative? Stick around next year to find out!
Throughout the year, we welcomed fourteen new businesses to our community including…
We also welcomed four new members to our management team and board! Fran Garforth joined us in July as our first Property Officer and Lynn Haime started as our first CEO in November. On the board, Geraldine Achieng, Aaron Fontenot and Lila Tamea became non-executive directors having previously been co-opted members. We also welcomed cultural change specialist Ngunan Adamu and property expert Andrew Byrne in October.
We are constantly looking for ways to reinvest in our facilities and services. As well as the day-to-day maintenance of our buildings, this year we’ve upgraded the CCTV cameras across the entire site to improve security and increased the broadband provision to a 10gb line. We also renovated the shopfronts at 22 Jordan Street, giving the steps and signage a fresh look. Check out the before and after below!
Last year we installed a defibrillator in 92 Degrees at the Creative Campus, and this year we added another to Ryde at Northern Lights so we now have two covering both sites. We also added more free sanitary provisions to the toilets, meaning we now offer free period products in all of our shared buildings.
We worked with local organisations and causes close to our heart, providing £11,500 worth of financial support and donations. We started the year by collecting unwanted electrical items, beauty products and toiletries for four UK charities and closed the year by raising £250 through our Festive Raffle for Kind’s Christmas Appeal and Liverpool Domestic Abuse Service.
In February, we began sponsoring the Baltic Triangle podcast which features monthly interviews with local heroes and businesses. We also sponsored the Liverpool 4 Ukraine exhibition which saw work by Ukrainian artists featured in seven venues across the Baltic Triangle area.
In April we attended Taste Ramadan – an event at the Pier Head for people of all communities to come together and share in a special moment of Islamic faith. Baltic Creative sponsored the event, along with other local organisations. Mark Lawler and Lila Tamea (pictured) also spoke to the crowd about the importance of diversity in the creative and digital sector.
In July we marched alongside Baltic Triangle CIC at the LCR Pride March to represent the area. We also sponsored the Love Liverpool Pride Exhibition, organised by Little Vintage Photography. The exhibition displayed analogue photography by and of people from the LGBTQ+ community. The work was on display in The Shed and 92 Degrees in July.
We once again sponsored the Prize for Best Level 5 Student in Architectural Technology at LJMU’s student awards. Two of our directors, Lila Tamea and Aaron Fontenot, presented Rebecca Clark with her award at a ceremony in the Adelphi Hotel. Afterwards, we spoke to Rebecca about her work on the course and her future ambitions.
In February, we interviewed Kirsty Thomas from Make Bank and donated fifty creative kits to pupils across the country struggling to access art resources. Then later in the year, we spoke to Holly Carter, a graduate of LJMU who found her own space as a freelance graphic designer after being based at the Creative Campus.
We also showcased businesses in our community through Spotlight blogs and interviews, kicking-off in February with John Fenn from Liverpool Bay Hotshop. Since then, we’ve interviewed ten more businesses about their back stories, work and plans for the future.
This year we provided almost thirty opportunities for businesses to connect. This happened through socials, networking and online events. We also worked with partners to deliver eighteen hours of free business and wellbeing support.
We held face-to-face events this year to catch up with tenants and partners we hadn’t seen in a while. It was great to reconnect and to introduce ourselves to the new businesses in our community. Our highlights included Baltic Brews and Bevs, and this lunch with tenants and visitors from Finland!
We attended social events with the Baltic Triangle Area CIC and provided free tickets for tenants to attend. The events bring together businesses and residents based in the Baltic Triangle whilst raising funds for the CIC to continue improving the area. We joined them for their Summer Party in Subrosa and Christmas Party at Cains Brewery (pictured)!
We once again worked with partner organisations providing free business and wellbeing support. On offer were workshops on pilates, mindfulness, social impact, governance, social media and access to funding. Pictured is the workshop on Mental Health First Aid for Businesses, organised by The Mind Map.
We also connected with creative hubs across the UK and Europe, forming new relationships, exchanging knowledge and experience. In March we visited Spike Island in Bristol and Studio Voltaire in London. We were treated to tours around both spaces to learn about the facilities and services they provide to their own creative communities. More recently, we had a delegation from Cable Factory in Helsinki visit us for their own tour around Baltic Creative.
This year we have formed new relationships with four major new partners. We closed on a project with the University of the West of England to build a resilience framework for creative micro businesses across the UK. This connected us with several hubs and creative organisations in the UK, and enabled us to form a lasting relationship with UWE Bristol.
Earlier this year, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Liverpool John Moore’s University to connect students with digital and creative businesses. We were visited by Mark Power, the Vice-Chancellor of LJMU, pictured here with board chair, Dr Fiona Armstrong-Gibbs who is programme leader for the university’s MBA in scale-up. The partnership will be in place for the next 3 years.
In July we announced our participation in a huge project with the British Council and Mereka, an organisation in Malaysia. The Creative Hubs for Good Programme connected Liverpool City Region’s digital and creative organisations with businesses in SEA, creating opportunities for trade, learning and collaboration. We held multiple online events including this one to introduce the project in July!
Towards the end of this year, we partnered with Make CIC on their Creative Enterprise Workshops – designed and delivered by creatives, for creatives. This partnership will continue into 2023 as the final sessions are delivered. We’re proud to be working with another social enterprise who aim to tackle barriers that creative businesses and individuals face.
We want to thank everyone for sticking with us through another challenging year. We’re constantly looking for ways to improve our services and facilities to best support the businesses based here. We can’t wait to spend another year doing more of the above and connecting with Liverpool City Region’s creative and digital community!