Community Manager
11 Nov, 2021
Patch & The Festival of Ideas – Guest Blog by Paloma Strelitz

Patch is a new work club and cultural venue in Grays Yard – we officially opened our doors just this week!

We have already had a great time getting to know lots of you and setting the foundations for what we hope will see Patch become a meaningful long term partner to existing, and emerging, organisations in Chelmsford.

At Patch we’re building the infrastructure to enable people to ‘Work Near Home’, supporting a rich and balanced work-life with beautifully designed space and professional resources, in an environment that promotes both concentrated working and collaborative engagement. In this way we want to open up the possibility for more time and energy in local communities and alongside family and friends.

We believe that working closer to home deepens local connections and a greater stake in our communities. From increased footfall on highstreets to more energy on local initiatives, we see a broad range of positive outcomes in the ‘Work Near Home’ world.

Enterprise, Culture and Collaboration

One aspect we’re really excited by is the potential for Patch to be a launchpad for local enterprise and a centre for cultural activity – that’s why we were so happy to host Ignite’s meet-up in Patch Market earlier this week. On weekdays, Patch is already supporting people working across a range of sectors and industries and becoming a catalyst for new collaborations. After hours and on weekends, our aspiration is that Patch will be a space for education and wider public events delivered collaboratively with local partners. Fete, Radio City Beer Works & Outer London Soundsystem are some of the businesses who helped make our opening party so special – and we’re looking forward to continuing to work collaboratively to support local businesses.

Of course, this is just Week 1 – we’re still learning the ropes of our new space. But we wanted to open the doors as soon as possible to invite you in and begin to understand the events that people – from different backgrounds, professions & groups are interested in – and what we may be well-positioned to enable in the future.

As a starting point we have six programme themes which are areas we’re focussing on: Balance & Belonging, Ideas and Innovation, Work & Collaboration, Design & Society, The Planet & Sustainability, Kids & Creativity.

We used these as a departure point to develop the programme for Patch’s first public event, The Festival of Ideas, which is running next week from 16th-19th Nov.  Tickets for these talks are free and you’re all very welcome to come along.

What is our Festival of Ideas?

We will be having four consecutive nights of chaired discussion on the themes of ‘Building A Shared Cultural Vision,’ ‘Reimagining The Future of Work’, ‘Crafting A Sense of Place’, & ‘Creating the Conditions for Innovation.’ The details of all the talks are below and tickets are available on our Eventbrite page:

The programme of these evenings connect to our core themes & reflect the conversations we’ve been having with our members, and well as local organisations, businesses and the Council. Each event has four fantastic speakers from the forefront of their various fields: the arts, creative industries, tech, business, local government & the third sector. The panels have been curated to reflect a breadth of experiences and perspectives with a balance of Essex-based and national individuals and organisations represented. So there will be some familiar names and ideas and a wealth of new ones.

Some of the speakers include Katie Deverell, Chelmsford City Council’s Cultural Partnerships Manager, speaking about ‘Building A Shared Cultural Vision,’ Matt Clifford co-founder of the UK’s leading business incubator ‘Entrepreneur First’ & charity ‘Code First Girls,’ chairing a conversation about ‘Reimagining The Future of Work,’ Sumitra Upham, head of public programmes at The Crafts Council,  exploring ‘Crafting A Sense of Place,’ & Michael Stothard, Editor of Sifted, a media site for Europe’s innovators and entrepreneurs,  leading a discussion on the ‘Creating the Conditions for Innovation.’

Details and Booking

We are so excited to launch this ‘Festival of Ideas’ next week. We hope you will join us for one or perhaps all-four evenings of lively conversation. For people attending the event the bar at Patch Market will be open for drinks – and we’re partnering with Fete, who will be serving a menu of delicious small bites!

Going forwards we’d love Patch to become a place for meeting new people, encountering new ideas, and catalyst for new initiatives – all the time, building alongside Chelsmford’s dynamic networks of individuals, organisations and businesses.

So from Naomi, Varun, Freddie & myself – we very much hope to see you there!


The Festival of Ideas: Programme

Book here:


Tuesday 16th November


How do you build a shared cultural vision? Come for an evening exploring themes of creativity, equity and community. Each speaker brings their perspectives from across the creative industries and experiences of creating projects that encourage inclusive enjoyment and engagement with the city.

Phin Harper – Open City, Director

Katie Deverell – Chelmsford City Council, Cultural Partnerships Manager

Anna Harding – Artist, Consultant & Space Studios CEO (fmr)

Emeka Frederick – Chuku’s Nigerian Tapas, Entrepreneur & Co-Founder

Wednesday 17th November


What opportunities does technology bring to the future of work? Join us to explore how the world of work is changing and the positive potential of technology to create a more inclusive and sustainable future of work.

Matt Clifford – Entrepreneur First, CEO

John Lazar – Raspberry Pi, Chair

Henry De Zoete – Entrepreneur & Non-Executive Board Member, The Cabinet Office

Naomi Briffett – Patch Chelmsford, Director

Thursday 18th November


How do you ‘Craft A Sense Of Place’? Join us for a fascinating evening exploring ideas of place-making, design, craft, community & belonging.

Emily King – Design Writer & Curator

Sumitra Upham – Crafts Council, Head of Public Programmes

Jane Hall – Assemble, Co-Founder & Writer

Sarah Walters – Things Made Public, Co-Founder

Friday 19th November


How do you develop game-changing ideas? Join our panel from the forefront of the start-up world, as we explore ‘The Conditions For Innovation.’ From investment to culture & growth: Together, we will discuss the start-up ecosystem and the factors which power innovation.

Michael Stothard – Sifted, Editor

Daisy Onubogu – Backed, Head of Network & Community

Srin Madipalli – Accomable, Entrepreneur & Co-founder

Chris Land – ARU, Deputy Dean of Research & Innovation


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