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We closely monitor our impact as a Social Enterprise and regularly report on the the wider impact of our services.
We closely monitor our impact as a Social Enterprise and regularly report on the development of our beneficiaries and the wider impact of our services.
The Cockpit Effect 2019 offers an insight into the craft businesses at Cockpit Arts, how we work with them to tackle the challenges they face, and the impact that we – and, just as importantly they – believe that our support makes.
Critical in this mix are two factors: the all-round nature of our support and the fact that it is sustained over time.
This report draws on research and activities during the 12-month period to 31 October 2018. Where possible, comparisons are made to longitudinal data collated by Cockpit between 2005 and 2017, as well as external data on craft businesses in the UK.
The financial results for the year for our makers are positive in the context of what is generally accepted to be a challenging economic climate.
The 80 makers who provided financial data during this year’s annual Partnership Reviews generated sales of £4.1M in 2018, with a Gross Value Added (GVA) of £1.8M. Grossed up for the whole community of 144 makers, this equates to estimated sales of over £7M and GVA of over £3M.
Remarkably, in the period 2014-2018, average GVA per business at Cockpit rose 12%, during a period in which total GVA for craft businesses as a whole in London fell 50% (2014-17, the closest equivalent period for which we have data)*.
As in previous reports, exports remain important this year. 58% of makers exported in 2017/2018, with a total sales value of £843K, or just over 20% of turnover, with top territories being Europe and North America, followed by Asia and Australia.
Particularly notable this year is the high proportion of makers who have developed new products (68%, up from 58% in the previous year), an area of activity that was a key focus of our support programme during the year.
Whilst businesses at Cockpit are microbusinesses and sole traders, reflecting patterns in the wider craft sector, our makers do generate wider employment: 6% employ PAYE, with 2% employing apprentices. 25% employ freelancers.
Our Partnership Reviews give an opportunity to hear directly from the makers what they consider to be their success points for the past 12 months.
Beyond the financial data quoted earlier in this report, we are interested in hearing softer data that might suggest how performance will evolve in the future.
• 23% of makers reported that they were able to pay themselves more than in the previous 12 months
• 55% said that their business skills had developed
• 42% said that they had gained a major stockist
• 56% cited being featured in a major publication
• 37% had been selected for a major selling event
In conclusion, the report highlights areas for future consideration.
As the craft sector, like retail more widely, experiences rapidly changing market conditions, the support we give to makers is needed more than ever. As routes to market evolve, our business support offer will continue to adapt to give our makers the best chance of success.
Looking at the community as a whole, the economic value that Cockpit adds is notable, both nationally as well as in the context of London. At a time when there is much discussion regarding the retention of existing making spaces and the creation of new ones, this report’s findings reinforce the need for support to be provided alongside those spaces.
This support needs to be sustained over the long term to give makers time to develop and test their concepts and business models. This, in turn, underlines the value of our partnerships, current and future. It also signals a need for longer term funding and investment, essential to allow us to plan for continued maker support.
* DCMS (2019). DCMS Sectors Economic Estimates 2017: Regional GVA. https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/dcms-sectors-economic-estimates-2017-regional-gva
Photo: pieces by Leathersellers’ Award recipients, by Alun Callender