Charlotte Steels from Gawthorpe Textiles Collection based at Gawthorpe Hall in Padiham talks to us about joining the first cohort for Prosper North and their interest in exploring new business models.

Tell us more about the Gawthorpe Textiles Collection…
We’re an accredited museum and educational charity using the historic textile collection founded by Rachel Kay-Shuttleworth to engage the public and as a catalyst to inspire creative practice, textile research, skills development and the promotion of wellbeing through craft.

What appeals to you about the Prosper North programme?
Working alongside and learning from other organisations, sharing best practice, accessing expert input. This is a fantastic opportunity for us to reassess our current business model and create new plans for the future.

How do you hope it will help with the challenges and opportunities your organisation faces?
We are a small organisation with the ambition to create a centre of excellence for learning through textiles and craft heritage. We have huge potential around commercial development and have begun over the past 18 months to establish small scale commercial activity as a means of diversifying our income streams to ensure the future sustainability of the collection and public facing work that we do. We hope that taking part in Prosper North will help us to identify and consolidate working practices that will enable us to grow and develop as an organisation towards achieving our ambition.  

What are you hoping to achieve by the end of the programme?
We hope that by the end of the programme we will have reassessed our current practice, identified alternate business models, explored new sources of funding and created a plan for development which will support the future resilience of the organisation.

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Find out more about Prosper North and how to apply for the next edition here