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What is #MERCH?


From August - October 2023 Havering young people can drop into the Hope Café in Romford to learn how to brand, make, and customize merchandise to sell. Led by professional artists and designers, these chilled out sessions aim to bring together creative and ‘switched on’ young people with that Alan Sugar spirit. There will also be an opportunity to Jam with other young musicians too.

Created by The NO Collective in collaboration with Havering Youth Services and Ahava (Hope Café), these sessions aim to catalyze entrepreneurship in young people to promote alternative creative careers. It will also introduce young people to professional making techniques, such as mug and bag printing, and clothes customization. The Jam sessions are being led by local young music company Vari Music Productions with support of The Hermit Youth Club.

Some of the items made during the sessions will then be sold at Romford Market alongside their makers as an event to raise money for more positive youth activities in the town – so please pop over to see us on Romford Market on 9th September, under a Romford BID marquee.

Natalie Bays, co-founder of The NO Collective says:

“Growing up in Romford it has always felt like a normal thing to start a business, especially one in retail as we are surrounded by small businesses and sole traders – so why not start a creative retail collective? Places like the Market are unique because you can ‘try out’ selling without such a huge risk. By supporting young people to have a go at making things to sell, we could possibly be creating Romford’s next big brand; and either way we have taught some new transferable skills!”

MERCH SM Tiles (3).png

 The programme, which will also see a creative enterprise short course in September for those who want to learn more, is supported by local arts programme ‘Havering Changing’ who are funded by Arts Council England to engage more people in creative activity.  Being creative and making is good for your health and wellbeing, so the course aims to promote art and design as a great way to keep a healthy mind.  

If you are 14+ and this sounds like something you would enjoy, or maybe you know a young person who would benefit from the activity? Drop into MERCH between 12pm – 6pm from Wednesday 30th August to 1st September to learn how to make some MERCH. For more information contact . 


MERCH | #DropIn
Hope Cafe | Romford Market

30th August
31st August
1st September

SHOP | #Dropin Collection
Romford Market

9th September

MERCH | #BookIn
Hope Cafe | Romford Market

Book in for these sessions by clicking here.
4pm - 7pm

12th September
19th September
26th September

SHOP | #Book Collection
The Mercury | Romford

Book in for lino print activity by clicking here.
10am - 4pm

23rd September

MERCH After Party| Shop Whole Collection
Party with L
ive Music & Art
Hope Cafe | Romford

Book Free Tickets Above
or £5.00 on the door
6.30pm - 10.30pm

Saturday 7th October


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