Last week, we ventured out of the Baltic Triangle to visit the other side of the River Mersey. We spent the day with three different businesses, chatting to the good folk making things happen on the left bank! If you don’t know what the ‘left bank’ is, then read on to find out…

Every 3 months, we take our team meetings out of the office, to gain a fresh perspective and generate new ideas. The day usually consists of coffee, tours, plenty of walking, lunch and, (hopefully) cake before we get down to the nitty gritty. Here’s what happened when we visited the Wirral last week…

A morning of regeneration, restoration & community growth

Our first stop was to the hythe building to see Starship – a place-led developer passionate about urban regeneration. We met up with their Director of Regeneration & Place, Simon Humphreys, to find out more about the Wirral Waters scheme. Wirral Waters will see the Great Float transformed to an area where you can live, work, study, shop, and play. The hope is that it will benefit residents by improving the environment, assisting with community projects and providing opportunities.

This exciting new area is made up of four neighbourhoods, each with their own distinct function and identity. Existing warehouses and listed buildings will be conserved and restored where possible to take on a new life – like the East Quay apartments housed in a former 1850s mill, and the Maritime Knowledge Hub built around a Grade II listed Hydraulic Tower.

Next, we went south to visit Start-Yard, a new development housed in Cammell Laird’s old transport depot, close to Birkenhead Priory. The building is home to an eclectic mix of businesses who occupy shipping containers as their work space. We grabbed a coffee from Me+Nu and sat down with Cathy Palmer, Head of Regeneration Delivery at Wirral Council. Cathy shared with us the wider plan for Birkenhead, which includes an impressive green space that will transform the disused railway line. Dock Branch Park will bring together neighbouring communities, providing a park and active travel corridor through the town. It will feature connected spaces and amenities, as well as links to existing businesses such as Future Yard.

Me+Nu Cafe at Start-Yard (L) and Ting (R), their onsite meeting space

An afternoon of art, bees & lunch on the Left Bank

Our final stop of the day was to visit Make CIC for a tour with their CEO, Liam Kelly. The Make Hamilton site opened four years ago as a home for makers and an important community hub. Make gave this former council building their magic touch, splashing the walls with colour and art work. Their community garden is a place where volunteers can grow herbs, fruit, vegetables, and tend to the Hamilton bees. We had a great chat with Rosie Ashton, Make’s Head of Programme, about composting and community garden initiatives!

After a jam-packed morning we finally sat down to enjoy lunch in the sunshine at Nettle, the sustainable cafe at Make Hamilton. Owner Julia Strelczuk, offers a delicious selection of food using ingredients grown in the garden and honey from the bees. Her display of homemade cakes is particularly appealing!

In Nettle’s shop we spotted the orange neon glow of a stack of Left Bank life magazines. If you still don’t know what the ‘left bank’ is – it’s the name given to a stretch of land along the Wirral Peninsula from New Ferry to New Brighton. The magazine is released seasonally and features news from the area, opinion pieces, interviews, and profiles of local businesses.

Baltic Creative’s Big Ideas

After lunch we sauntered inside with coffee and cake (we couldn’t resist) to start our meeting. Holding operational meetings every Monday means we can discuss the ‘bigger picture’ of Baltic Creative at our quarterly meetings. Each of us bring three ‘Big Ideas’ to mull over and make a plan for. This month, we discussed new wellbeing initiatives to get us out of the office, a big sustainability drive, an improved booking system for meeting rooms, charity partners, fundraising, brand identity, and creative arts engagement.

The day gave us a midweek boost and fresh ideas to crack on with over the next few months. Catch us next time to see where we go for our Autumn day out in October!

We’d like to thank Simon at Starship, Cathy Palmer, Neil Kirkham, Liam and Rosie at Make, Julia at Nettle and the team at Start-Yard for being so welcoming. We’ll be back on the Left Bank soon!