South Kilburn’s Dream School

New project to help start up businesses and young would-be apprentices launched

Patrizia Victor had been struggling to build up her business without a studio.

She had been running her women’s triathlon-wear company from her flat in Princess Road, South Kilburn, since 2005, but the lack of physical space to expand into prevented her from getting an intern to help out, or inviting clients round.

“I wasn’t making enough money to afford a studio”, Patrizia says.

“And it can be very isolating to sit at home all day. You don’t separate work from your personal life and you end up working weekends because there is no division ay more.”

But all that has now changed.

Patrizia is one of 13 small business owners and artists who have been given rent free work space at the South Kilburn Studios in Canterbury Road, Kilburn.

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Under a new project commissioned by Brent Council and the South Kilburn Neighbourhood Trust, they get given the space rent free for six months on the basis that they take on an apprentice to pass on the skills of their trade and build up a portfolio of work.

“The social aspect of the studio was quite important for me as I was getting quite isolated”, Patrizia says.

“It is much easier now with the studio. I have got a proper work space, and I get a lot more work done. It is brilliant.”

Unemployment has been on the rise in Brent since April 2008, according to the council’s own statistics, and at 9.6 per cent is higher than both the UK and London averages.

The South Kilburn project has been launched as a two pronged attack on this figure. By providing apprenticeships Brent Council hopes to get more young people learning the practical skills they need to get a job.

While providing start-up businesses with workspace rent free will give them the helping hand they need to survive in the tough economic climate.

Tackling deprivation is central to the council’s plans to regenerate South Kilburn, an ambitious project to knock down many of the 1960’s tower blocks and replacing them with new homes.

Alex Hearn, regeneration officer, major projects, Brent Council said: “We are pleased that such an exciting project is taking place in Brent. We believe that South Kilburn Studios will ignite interest in South Kilburn and deliver new types of services to the local community.

“South Kilburn Studios as a fundamental part of our regeneration strategy for the borough.”

For Patrizia, the six month long project also gives her the chance to pass down her knowledge and enthusiasm to the next generation.

She said: “I am excited about the prospect of passing down my knowledge and give them some insight into the industry.

“I am really excited about the social aspect to it. There is a communal area where we can all sit down and talk and share ideas. But then you still have a proper studio which you can close the door and knuckle down.

“My business is very seasonal – the summer is very busy so I’m really glad to have this studio when I have so much going on. But the winter will be quiet and hopefully by next summer I’ll be able to afford my own studio.”

South Kilburn Studios is currently seeking up to thirteen trainees to take part in the project.

You must live in Brent and age between18 and 25. To apply, please visit: