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Written By: inIlford

31st / Jan / 2022

Do you have a super exciting, creative idea that you’d like to test out on Ilford High Street? Or perhaps lockdown has got you thinking about an amazing idea to bring the community back together?

Launching in 2022 as part of The Spark Lab, the old Dorothy Perkins and Burton store at 120-122 Ilford High Street (also known as ‘The Deco Building') will be being transformed for use by the community. Through a year-long programme of ever-changing activities and events, the new space could provide an opportunity for local makers, creators, entrepreneurs and innovators to share their passions and skills with Ilford.

We will be giving seven successful applicants a bursary of £7,000 to bring their ideas to life and one of the following a residency opportunities in the new space:

  • Residency 1 - 2nd April 2022 - 15th May 2022
  • Residency 2 - 21st May 2022 - 3rd July 2022
  • Residency 3 - 9th July 2022 - 21st August 2022
  • Residency 4 - 28th August 2022 - 9th October 2022
  • Residency 5 - 16th October 2022 - 26th November 2022
  • Residency 6 - 4th December 2022 - 14th January 2023
  • Residency 7 - 22nd January 2023 - 4th March 2023


All idea submissions must meet a set of core requirements:

  • Occupy the vacant unit for a period of 6 weeks
  • Be delivered within one of the specified residency periods
  • Be open to the public for a minimum of 128 hours throughout the 6 week period
  • Must be staffed at all times
  • Provide free entry to the public
  • Have inclusive engagement and participation of the local community at the core
  • Comply with the latest Local Authority Covid-19 safety guidelines -
  • Spark Lab really cares about the environment. We encourage themes of environmentalism within your work and are looking for environmentally conscious projects.
  • Where possible link to the other components of The Spark Lab
  • Leave the premises in the same condition or better than prior to the commencement of the project

You can download the complete brief HERE (BRIEF)

Selection criteria

The Spark Lab is community-focused. Ideas that meet the above requirements will be presented to a local steering group comprised of residents and other stakeholders.

Please keep in mind that your ideas will be viewed and selected by people who may be unfamiliar with the terminology and references of the arts and culture and business sectors. You may wish to consider this in how you describe your projects.


The deadline for idea submissions is 7th February 2022.

Those shortlisted may be invited to interview from 16th - 18th February 2022, with a final decision being made in February 2022.

How to submit your idea

Whether you are born and bred in Ilford or from further afield you can submit your ideas through our online form HERE (ONLINE FORM)

Please note that as part of your submission you will be asked to submit a short video clip (approx. 1 minute) of yourself/organisation and a spreadsheet listing your anticipated expenditure for your idea. You can download a budget spreadsheet template HERE (BUDGET TEMPLATE)

Members of the team, from Things Made Public, are here to help! If you would like to talk to a member of the team about your application, please don’t hesitate to get in touch at

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