One year ago, Tŷ Pawb opened its doors to the public for the first time, with a huge celebration event that attracted thousands of people.
Looking back, it was a massive day for Wrexham.
For months during the run-up, the project dominated local headlines and social media – prompting Marmite style feelings. Some loved the idea and thought it would be great for the town. Some didn’t.
So when it finally opened on April 2, 2018, it was time to stop talking and start doing…it was time for Tŷ Pawb to start delivering what we hoped it could.
So how’s it gone?
A new kind of place?
The venue brought market-stalls, community activities and arts under one roof, which was a new concept for Wrexham. In fact it was a new thing for the UK.
In this article, we’ll take a look the markets bit…as well as events and footfall figures.
What do market traders think?
We chatted with some of the traders at Tŷ Pawb, and they seem pretty happy. Take a look at the video.
A lot benefit from the huge range of events at the venue – staying open to take advantage of the extra footfall.
As well as the traders who’ve taken up a stall, there’s been 30 enquiries from other potential stallholders in the first year. So there’s plenty of interest.
Tŷ Pawb’s done a lot of work to make it easy for people to set-up a stall and start trading from the site – providing opportunities for local businesses and entrepreneurs.
For example, there are nifty ‘pop ups’ for people keen to test the water before taking on a lease.
And the staff can now offer a really quick way for traders to get set-up without having to wait for the admin on the lease to be sorted.
The food court has also proved incredibly popular.
Pop in at lunchtime, and you’ll see how many people enjoy the excellent range on offer – popping in for lunch with friends and work colleagues.
Cllr Hugh Jones, Lead Member for Communities, Partnerships, Public Protection and Community Safety, says: “Twelve months on, Tŷ Pawb is going from strength to strength – and everyone involved with the project should be proud of that.
“Many of the traders have been with us since day one, and we’re really pleased they’ve stayed with us.
“Others have joined throughout the year, which shows confidence in the venue, and we wish them even more success as we enter year two.”
How popular are the events?
When you’re an events venue, you’ve got to agree with Dolly…working 9-5 is no way to make a living.
The events at Tŷ Pawb have seen it shift from a ‘9-5 Monday to Saturday’ set-up, to an ‘open when required’ approach.
So the venue regularly opens well into the evening for the local groups that use it – as well as popular weekend events like the comedy and open mic nights.
Many events sell out and the free events are really well attended.
Take the free Thursday lunchtime concerts for example. Most weeks you’ll struggle to find a seat, with standing room only.
Cllr Jones says: “The events programme has taken everyone by surprise.
“Tŷ Pawb is delivering a huge variety of events that appeal to people and communities with all sorts of different interests and needs, and it’s brilliant that the visitor numbers have steadily increased over the months.”
How many feet through the door?
Footfall was recently confirmed to be in excess of the original business plan predictions, and the installation of footfall counters will see more accurate figures in the future.
They already show the recent Greyson Perry exhibition has pulled-in over 4,000 visitors, with over 40,500 visitors going into Tŷ Pawb itself.
(The counters don’t count people going in and out of the car parks – only visitors to the venue – so they provide a pretty accurate picture).
Strength to strength
Cllr Jones says: “Ty Pawb is definitely finding its place and playing an increasingly important part in the life of Wrexham.
“And a lot of that is down to the support it’s getting from the people of Wrexham.
“The people who shop here, buy their food here, come to the events and activities, enjoy the art, perform and basically breathe life into this building. They’re the people who are making this work.
“Wrexham can – and should – be really proud of what its achieved. Now let’s see what we can do during the second year.”
In our next article we’ll take a look at the ‘community’ aspect of Tŷ Pawb, and meet some of the local groups using the facilities.
Derek Jones, Chairman of the Tŷ Pawb Advisory Board, said: “During its first year, Tŷ Pawb has provided an excellent venue for a broad range of different events such as live music and gigs, exhibitions, workshops, community days, film screenings and a number of other events linked to the arts, markets and communities in Wrexham.
“As well as providing a gallery space which has hosted artwork produced by a number of famous artists, Tŷ Pawb has also provided a venue to a number of traders who might not otherwise have come to Wrexham.
“The popularity of events such as the first Dydd Llun Pawb and the more recent St David’s Day celebrations, demonstrate that Tŷ Pawb has earned a reputation as a popular community venue, and I’m sure that will only grow in the coming years.
“There are still things to be learnt, progress to be made and still corners to turn, but the team at Tŷ Pawb has risen to the challenges, and the work they’ve put in is second to none. I’m confident that with their help, and the backing of the community of Wrexham, Tŷ Pawb will go from strength to strength and offer the whole community a venue they can be confident in and proud of.”
And to kick-off the second year of Tŷ Pawb, there’s a celebration event planned. Read more about it on this blog.
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