Transforming Walsall Fund

Fund: Transforming Walsall Fund - Phase 1 

CanWE: transform Walsall into a world leading place to live; a space of creativity & innovation - building power with people through making and experimentation.

Summary _/. 

It’s time to invest in Walsall; a town that has for too long been neglected, lacked the infrastructure and leadership to support its diverse and growing communities. We are starting by dedicating the next  decade to kick-start Walsall’s transformation; aiming to shift its narrative as a place of degradation and social divide, into a thriving place to live for all. 

This phase of funding will supply 5% of our £500,000 investment target; helping to create a central node for communities living here, to reshape their town. With this £25,000 our team will:

+ Secure the 6000 sq ft,  listed property on  Walsall’s civic centre on the High Street for community use.

+ Support the co-design & architecture process to transform the space into a vivid community asset.

+ Kickstart our community-led initiatives supporting   local groups to experiment by distributing  micro grants 

What 's Our  Plan_//

It all begins with a  3 part plan:

1. Create the Virtual Town of Walsall - showcasing the abundance of creativity, heritage , & activity available in Walsall whilst creating a virtual space in which to reimagine the town.

2.   Open the  The People*s Studio, Walsall -  creating a community-led, central node in which to reimagine  Walsall with the residents of Walsall.

3. Co-Design The  New Walsall Master Plan - Over the first 3 years design a New Walsall Masterplan collectively  and inclusively with the full range of communities  resident in Walsall, working in partnership  with the locality to  challenge, enrich and build upon the existing plan. 

How We Will  Spend the   £25,000 //.

+ £6,000  | Cover   Legal & Architectural fees to  begin  work on the  Walsall Design Centre.

+ £9,000 |  To fund a Small Team for   3 months  to begin  community building, engagement  and  research towards the New Walsall Masterplan .

+£10,000  | Create & Distribute Micro Grants to Incubate  Innovative Community Initiatives.


We are creating a beacon for present and future generations across the borough; regionally and internationally placing residents of Walsall at the centre of their urban regeneration,  energising the work needed to tackle global living challenges, and building hope in the future.

The Walsall Design   Centre will   function as :

- Community  Hub /Venue-   creating a community owned multi-purpose space in the heart of Walsall  to catalyse Walsall's transformation. 

- Design Research  Labs  - open access facilities for experimentation and learning for people in Walsall to begin reimagining the way the world could be.

- Creative Studios -   open access spaces for creative practitioners, academics and social enterprises to create in Walsall.



The Opportunities___

- Growing Investment in the area  , with Walsall's communities holding deep desire for supportive social enterprise 

-   Rich property stock of beautiful buildings  and places

-  Diverse communities  passionate about Walsall and bringing about the best outcomes

- Home to visionaries, innovators and creative thinkers and doers who are itching to build Walsall   up.

The Struggle __

- Walsall is one of the 10% most deprived area in the UK

- Evolving demographics,  neglected  communities & disproportionate COVID -19 impact on BIPOC communities .

- Low Property values & abundant property stock put Walsall at threat of gentrification.

- Walsall can only provide 1 : 3 residents a job, forcing talent  outside and  turning Walsall  into a commuter town.

- New Walsall Masterplan opens up  an unprecedented opportunity for communities in Walsall to get involved in shaping the town.

- Walsall needs support to become  a healthier, more sustainable and resilient place to live in response to global sustainability and environmental challenges  facing towns in the UK.

Walsall is a town on the outskirts of Birmingham and part of The Black Country: a place which, despite its name, has not always been welcoming to black, and other ethnic groups. Instead, Walsall for the last few decades, has been a site of low social and cultural visibility, with the town and greater borough consistently illustrated as a place of disinvestment, racial and social divide. 

There is a long history of disinvestment and economic disparity across the Black Country, with Walsall in the 10% most deprived areas in the UK. 

Walsall’s vibrancy is dwindling: the town centre is desolate; surrounding areas are victims to degradation; and the basic lack of quality amenities & jobs to meet the already underserved and growing population (due to urban spill from Birmingham) is putting serious pressure on local government to make swift changes.

Despite this, the local authority’s attempts to catalyse investment in the borough have been unable to inspire joy in the people living here. Walsall is  not just white working class. There is a rich mix  of cultures living here looking for opportunities, needing support and with amazing talent to contribute to the town.

Locals to feel disconnected from the development process here, and for many, forcing talent outside of Walsall where opportunities are more abundant. We need to re-inspire people living in Walsall to take action and be part of the decision making processes shaping their town. We want to help make a place where existing communities and groups continuing to work towards a better Walsall, are resourced to serve the locality in deeper and more connected ways.

Our responsibilities __. 

Funds donated to this cause will be spent on the project listed above. We will produce a spending report itemising this at the end of the financial year. This is our personal responsibility as a way of keeping us accountable. 

If donations supersede our targets, funds will be designated towards the next stages of the project. For more information on what our future plans are or to get involved please contact us via the email provided.

To learn more about me and my practice, please read below:


About Me /.

My name is Andre Reid. I'm a Walsall based designer and my work centres on working in and between communities to embed them in the design, making & development of their local areas.  I have established, and consulted on a series of innovate space based initiatives over the last 6 years, including: Blacktapestudios multimedia production studio, 2014-2016; PopIN UK - Pop up concept store, 2016 and am passionate about creating productive spaces for those who cannot access them (spaces with equipment which allows for experimentation, collaboration and production, vs. spaces to simply hot desk and set up laptops).

About my Practice KIONDO //. 

Mission: To actively invest in people and places; enabling and supporting disadvantaged communities to lead in the future of how they live.

I run a design practice called KIONDO. From designing, making, galvanising communities, and engaging in community based research, we have grown a rich understanding of the value of the knowledge produced by, and from within communities. We have learnt from our own experience that this knowledge is consistently extracted from our communities and used to power, and justify corporate entities to do exploitative work. 

In 2020, KIONDO re-stratigised, shifting our focus to protect and build capacity for disadvantaged communities like those found in Walsall. We reorganised Kiondo to address the vulnerabilities present in our organisational structure, and formed the ‘KIONDO Charitable Trust’ as a more resilient form of governance. The charity now secures and protects our future investments in communities, and the amazing trustees that we have gathered from around the world, act as the organisation’s strategic head.

We now work more strategically to develop the ecosystems required for these communities to equitably participate in the knowledge production of their places of residence, using their voices and skills to determine how they are shaped, and for whom.


Andre-Donovan Reid
Walsall, ENG

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