Meet the Fabric District CIC

As the Fabric District’s business owners, we were first galvanised to transform the area in 2015.

 

In 2017, we came together to launch the Fabric District CIC. 

Michael Birkett

Michael has been the Chair of the Fabric District CIC since 2020 and a member of the Board since its inception in 2017.

Since 2014 he has been Group Chief Executive and member of the Board of The Regenda Group, who are a leading regeneration organisation with headquarters in Liverpool City Centre.   Prior to joining Regenda, he spent eight years as Chief Executive of The Calico Group and earlier in his career held senior roles at The Aspire Group and Liverpool Housing Action Trust.  

Michael has held numerous Non-Executive Director roles and is also currently the Chair of Plexus UK Limited (the Housing Association subsidiary of Mears Group PLC) and a member of the Liverpool City Region Strategic Investment Panel.

Michael has a Doctorate from the University of Bristol and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Housing.

Jason Abbott

Jason Abbott has been involved in the Fabric District for most of his life, initially through his Father Charlie moving his small Screen printers Taylors Screenprint to the run-down red-light area known as Islington, as the printers grew he acquired more buildings which after the demise of Taylors and a period of rental has been renovated by Jason to become The Tapestry.

The Tapestry is a mixed use creative community Hub in the heart of the Fabric District and has served as one of the beacon’s for the regeneration of the area.

Jason’s previous work life has included, Mechanical Engineering, Plumbing, Production Management and he has also been a Private Landlord for 26 years.

In 2017 as the Tapestry plan was being created, Jason along with Richard & Suzie Jennions created the Fabric District Stakeholders group which latterly became Fabric District CIC. The idea was to have Community led regeneration in contrast to the plans for the area that had been and gone before.

Jason Chaired the CIC until October 2020 when Michael Birkett, CEO of Regenda became our current Chair.

Richard Jennions

Richard Jennions has a background in furniture and interior design spending the early years of his career working as a creative director for Not Tom Ltd. managing consumer facing event and interior interventions for a range of organisations from global brands to smaller independent organisations in a wide range of industries. 

Richard’s involvement in the Fabric District started at a young age as the family business, a headwear manufacturer called Try & Lilly Ltd has been based in the area for 40 years. On returning to Liverpool and the family business Richard became reacquainted with the area, remembering his affinity for it and realising its potential and problems. This encouraged him to join with others in the Fabric District CIC to work towards a revival of the Fabric District.

Nanette Mellor

Nanette has dedicated her career to working for disabled people for over twenty years and has experience in the disability field spanning the public, private and third sector. Her earlier experience includes delivering and managing residential care and supported living services, respite, day services, employment and volunteering projects within local authorities.

In 2014 Nanette took up her first Chief Executive Officer role with our charity and soon after, in 2015, Nanette was nominated and won one of Merseyside’s Women of the Year awards: The One Ark Award for Social Impact. She has also recently been voted Social Leader of the Year at the English Woman of the Year Awards (North) 2018.

As the charity’s C.E.O. Nanette has responsibility for the strategic direction, business development and financial sustainability of the organisation.

Diane Cunningham

Diane is a project director and consultant for places and has a wealth of experience helping high streets and markets be more resilient and creating opportunities for businesses to thrive.

She is founder of The Assembly Line a place-based consultancy where her work includes consultations and stakeholder engagement with businesses, launching and improving street markets and developing and managing communications projects for local authorities and with architects, BIDs and others who care about places.

Having grown up in the Liverpool region, Diane relocated from London in 2021. As a local resident, she chaired a trader and resident association and launched a street market, working with a diverse range of organisations. Through her work she sat on the inaugural London Markets Board, created to protect the capital’s street markets and The Future of Barking Town Centre Panel convened to develop a vision for the future of the town centre to 2030.  She worked in both prominent locations as well as in local town centres outside the centre facing similar challenges to the Fabric District.

Diane holds an MSc in Place Management & Leadership and has been appointed as an expert to the High Street Task Force to support local authorities across England in solving the complex problems facing their high streets.

Kate Stewart

Kate Stewart is a creative business practitioner with a wealth of experience in the design & education sectors with a focus on participation and co-production.
 
She is CEO and co-founder of We Make Places CIC and she leads on their community engagement and cultural programmes as well as supporting the development of business strategy and delivery.  In 2023 We Make Places and their learning and manufacturing programmes will be relocating to the Fabric District.
 
All of Kate’s work is about the right partnerships & collaborations with other creatives, individuals & businesses with different skills. She has a background in theatre, business planning and project management and sector specific business support for the creative sector. Kate was self-employed for almost 30 years and has won various accolades as a entrepreneur – from being a Cosmopolitan Woman of Achievement, Social Entrepreneur of the Year to being named as one of the Leaders of Liverpool & as Independent Business Champion in Merseyside as well as several times being named in the WISE Women list and leading We Make Places to be included in the SE100.
 
As a cultural producer, Kate has worked in Rio, Tokyo, Durban and Johannesburg and was one of 15 people chosen to take part in the Creative Producers International programme, bringing together people using culture to bring about city or systemic change.

Chris Clayton

Chris is a Liverpool born Chartered Surveyor specialising in long term masterplanning who has been deeply involved in urban regeneration and renewal for many years.

 

He obtained a degree in Urban Estate Management from Liverpool Polytechnic (now JMU) and gained early experience in London and Manchester before returning to Liverpool to set up his own business in Upper Duke Street.  After a period away from the city, he has returned to join the Fabric District CIC as ‘strategic regeneration lead’.

 

Chris has previous experience in the London Road and Fabric District area and remains very proud of his leading role in his first Liverpool regeneration project – the restoration of nearby Seymour Terrace (1990-92).

 

Within the Fabric District CIC, Chris aims to strengthen existing ties with the area’s key stakeholders, particularly with the local business and residential communities, and to actively promote sustainable economic, social and environmental change over the years ahead.

Tom Hyatt

Tom Hyatt is a transdisciplinary artist, musician, and art/science PhD candidate at Liverpool John Moores University. After studying for a Masters in physics and philosophy at Oxford University, Tom lived and worked in London for eight years pursuing a creative career in grassroots music and the arts alongside teaching. Moving to Liverpool to study, he became involved with the Fabric District community through helping organise the Fabric District Arts Festivals since 2018.

Tom sees the potential for the arts to nourish the Fabric District’s development and encourage creative connections between its residents and beyond.

Matthew Ashton

Matthew Ashton joined the Fabric District board in 2022. A Director of MGMA Architects, he is a Chartered Architect with over ten years’ post qualification experience in practice. Trained at the University of Liverpool, Matthew has strong interpersonal and communication skills, successfully building project teams and delivering leadership for clients. He combines deep listening, intellectual curiosity, and technical experience to assist colleagues, fellow professionals, and students with an engaged critique in support of the process of translation of ideas from drawing to building.

Mathew founded MGMA Architects in 2011, building a reputation for refurbishment and adaption projects across England’s north-west. Responsible for the studio design team, Matthew oversees the creative and technical output of the business, covering analysis, feasibility and appraisal, concept, technical design and delivery. He is responsible for planning applications and Building Regulations submissions, and is an experienced JCT Building Contract administrator. He leads the growing conservation specialism in the studio, developing confident new architecture in historically significant settings, including listed buildings and conservation areas. Current schemes range in value from £100k conservation projects to £2m residential and mixed-use schemes.

Matthew teaches BA2 Architecture studio at the University of Liverpool, and has been a guest critic on the MArch programme at Liverpool John Moores University since 2012. His writing has appeared in Building Design, the Architects’ Journal, and The Observer newspaper. Matthew sat on the Liverpool Commercial District BID operations board 2019-21, and became a Trustee of the Cannington Shaw Preservation Trust CIC in 2021.

Matthew is critically engaged with building conservation, with several years’ experience working with listed buildings, non-designated heritage assets, and scheduled monuments. He is a keen advocate of creative adaption, bringing new uses and perspectives to the historic environment. Matthew completed the RIBA Conservation Course in 2015.

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