Turn Piece Hall into students' showcase

Clough Lane Mixenden

Looking for a possible way to re-invigorate the Piece Hall? Why not put a modern twist on its original purpose?

True we no longer have the cottage industries to bring their pieces to the hall to trade. However what we do have is a local college which could make great use of the Piece Hall.

My suggestion is to allocate a number of the units to the college. These would be set up to provide workshops and retail outlets for a range of (most probably) craft students.

These crafts could be fashion design, jewellery design, various arts, even skills like hairdressing and its associated skills. For the students there would be the opportunity to develop a personal identity and even a brand, learn customer interfacing skills, display and actually sell their work. The student's final year project would be to set up and run their own "boutique" in one of the units for a period of time.

Other students at the college could also be gainfully included by "working" in this real environment. Accountancy students taking it in turns to look after the accounts, Business Studies students with local projects, Graphic Design students could be involved in creating the look for the boutiques and marketing materials. Website designers creating websites for each of the fledgling business etc.

Practical skills and labour to do the shop fitting could be acquired from the Skills Training Centres around Halifax.

Calderdale College could then become an Enterprise Education College (University?) with a wide range of students having the opportunity to do "real" work during their course.

These unique opportunities would attract young students (the town supposedly has a vibrant night-life to keep them amused when not studying). Or mature students who would like to learn a new craft with a view to starting their own business. They would be able to find out the realities but from a "safe" environment.

It would allow Calderdale College to stand out as a unique centre of Education in Enterprise. It's qualifications would carry that much more weight, thus making students more attractive to prospective employers.

It would re-invent Halifax to a degree and therefore a more interesting place to visit. Which Town, College or University could offer such facilities? Especially in such a venue!

Imagine being able to go to the Piece Hall and see students actually at work in the workshops.

Take the opportunity to commission a "designer" outfit or a "designer" piece of Jewellery etc, not only getting something unique but also helping the students fund their way through college.

It could even be a great marketing tool for Halifax encouraging the bus tours touring Yorkshire to visit more, increasing the footfall in the Piece Hall and the town, and giving the resident shops/attractions a greater chance of doing more business.

Or even attract visitors from the other local towns for a change.

'Buy a Personal Piece from the Piece Hall'

'Hand-crafted in Halifax'

'Watch Students Actually Working'

'Real local souvenirs - not imports from China'

Maybe not the sharpest of slogans but I'm sure the students could come up with plenty of their own.

Paul Farrar