Save Our Story

21 St Nicholas street is to be sold in 2024. designermakersCIO has the one-off chance to buy this unique Victorian building, ensuring the public have access to learn about crafts and craft skills, inspiring creativity for generations to come.
raised of £350,000 target
by 106 supporters
RCN 1167949


Nearly There!

As we approach our target excitement escalates.

The image below explains the complexities of our particular fundraising profile.

We have arrived at a point where we need £22,000 to enable the purchase of 21 St. Nicholas street. Once we own 21 St. Nicholas street we will be able to unlock funds available for essential repair and improvements work, but these funds will be conditional on designermakersCIO owning 21 St. Nicholas street.

So come on! Join us for the final sprint to secure the future of designermakers21 the home of designermakersCIO.

Breaking News

A new pledge from an anonymous donor has boosted our fund by £20,000. We are now just £23,000 short of achieving our 'Stage 1' target of £250,000 to purchase 21 St Nicholas street Diss.

Once we have completed the purchase we will need to raise the final £55,000 required to match fund the building's improvements component of the COF grant (stage 2).

Thanks to all our supporters, let's keep up the momentum, the finishing line is in sight.

designermakersCIO continues to push forward:

At the beginning of May this year we received the much welcome news that The Foyle Foundation has pledged £50,000 towards our Save Our Story Campaign.

Along with some other sizeable donations, grants and the generosity of our many supporters, we are now closing in on our target of £350,000. We can do this, we will Save designermakers21!

designermakersCIO is pleased to announce that our bid for the Levelling Up Community Ownership fund has been successful.

Dehenna Davison MP said: "We are delighted to inform you that your application has been successful, and to approve the award of a COF grant of £171,750 capital funding the designermakers21 building purchase to help save your treasured community asset and support the ambitions of your community."

This is a tremendous boost, but we still need grants, donations etc. to match fund the COF grant up to our target of £350,000.

This news means that you can be confident that your donation to designermakersCIO is a good call since some of the most influential, authoritative people in this country's Government are determined that this project must not be allowed to die.


designermakersCIO was established to promote, improve and advance the education in, and appreciation of the arts.This is achieved through the facilitation and management of workshops and training courses in different design and craft skills, with the aim of engaging with people of all ages through creative arts.

To achieve this mission we have established a creative hub in the centre of Diss which nurtures and promotes the appreciation of traditional and contemporary crafts through the provision of:

Workshops, demonstrations and taster days, in traditional and contemporary craft processes for diverse participants and audiences.

Community engagement in local and national arts events; working with local schools and forming active partnerships with arts organisations.

Studios and exhibition spaces for professional craftspeople to create and exhibit high quality work.

A supportive and creative environment for individuals to develop and share their practice.

Mentoring opportunities for emerging makers / artists.


designermakers21, home of designermakersCIO, located in Diss, South Norfolk, opened in May 2013. Initially this Grade II listed Victorian retail shop housed 4 craft studios. Rapidly filling the warren of Victorian rooms designermakers21 now supports 11 craft studios, two galleries, a rolling quarterly showcase space, large exhibition/workshop area, silkscreen facility, ceramics workshop, litho printing facility, temporary Guest studio and more in the planning.

This shared, creative and vibrant centre embraces traditional and contemporary craft, with an inspiring range of practices. designermakers21's permanent members have sustained its evolution and created, by nature, a supportive working environment.

How we work

Our 10 permanent members all have studio space within the building. During opening hours visitors have open access to these studios so that they can observe craft processes in action. These crafts include saori weaving, mosaics, vintage textiles & classic dressmaking, printmaking, theatre crafts, wood, ceramic and metalwork, sculpture, textile art and felting.

We also sell products made by our Associate and Guest members, including metal sculptures, hand blown glass, ceramics, textile art and millinery. We run a revolving showcase exhibition offering space to a further 12 makers each year. These schemes enrich the variety of crafts on display and the income from tenure and commissions from sales enable us to deliver a programme of events. Our members benefit from the opportunity to present their work to the public.

Our permanent and associate members also run workshops throughout the year, ranging from 1 to 1 workshops to group workshops of 8 or more participants. Space is available to hire in the exhibition room for larger workshops and for visiting artists who do not have a workshop on site.

We also curate around 6 exhibitions each year, these relate to craft processes and objects. These are usually collaborative events involving local arts/education organisations.

For 10 years designermakers21 has benefited from the generosity of The Diss & Ipswich Quakers (our landlords), but now they want to sell 21 St Nicholas street and have favoured us with an exclusive opportunity to buy the freehold.

If we do not succeed in raising the funds to buy our home, the many benefits that designermakersCIO has brought to visitors, users, members and our extended family of stakeholders will be lost. The knock-on effect for Diss will be significant as the town will lose an important tourist attraction and boost to its economy.

Help to Save our Story and keep this centre of creativity in Norfolk for you and future generations to enjoy.'

About the charity


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RCN 1167949
designermakersCIO is a charity in the heart of Diss. Through designermakers21 it aims to inspire creativity through education, demonstration, experiential learning opportunities and direct access to working designer makers' studios.

Donation summary

Total raised
+ £1,785.84 Gift Aid
Online donations
Offline donations
Direct donations
Donations via fundraisers

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