In early 2020, The Bunker in Harnham fell silent after nearly 4 years of youth music activities and projects. The Sound Emporium, which started operating from The Bunker in 2016, closed its doors at the start of the first lockdown and since then the company running the building has folded.
Alex Mobaraki and Andy Munns, both from Salisbury, have come together to revive creative activity at The Bunker, bringing together Music and Creative Media to form The Underground Studios. The new Community Interest Company’s aim is to re-establish the projects that were so popular at The Sound Emporium whilst adding other creative practice to the mix. Digital Creative media will be added with workshops for young people to learn about creating TV, Film, Radio and Podcasts.
Lots of work has been going on in the background. Andy and Alex are building new relationships with potential partner organisations and local authorities. They have put together what they believe is a strong proposal to turn The Bunker into a Creative Hub that will be a valuable community asset.
Alex said: 'We are passionate to continue the great work that went before. We share the same ethos within our projects. We want to create a safe and supportive environment where people can come together and learn, develop and express themselves and their creative skills. It's really important to celebrate what went before, but the most important thing for our new team is to secure a home for these exciting projects.'
The new Creative Hub would require some minor adjustments to the use of some of the spaces within The Bunker, adding facilities including a Podcasting and Radio suite, TV Studio and an IT suite meanwhile revamping the music facilities. The pair believe the expansion of projects will provide added stability to the company, but also make The Bunker an even more vibrant and exciting place.
Andy added: 'The potential of the creative hub is really exciting. We hope to turn the building into a vibrant, interesting and inspiring setting. Having a multitude of creative activities taking place in the same space allows for some fantastic collaboration and creative cooperation. We have already had so many exciting conversations about partnerships.'
The Underground Studios is looking for other locally run projects to join them. Alex and Andy hope to open the doors to other groups and organisations to share the space and facilities and grow a community of creative projects that are all based at The Bunker.
Andy continues: 'We have had some really exciting conversations. One that excites me personally is a partnership we are working on with Music for Wellbeing CIC. The potential of this partnership exemplifies what we are trying to achieve with the Creative Hub.'
The proposed projects have already received a great amount of support locally with previous attendees getting in contact and asking when projects might be restarting. There has also been some fantastic support locally, with two of the proposed new projects being backed financially by Wiltshire Council's local area boards.
The duo hopes to relaunch The Bunker under the title The Underground Studios in September of this year and are applying for the lease for the bunker, recently advertised by Salisbury City Council.
Alex said: 'The Bunker is our number one choice as the home for our new creative hub. The building is a great place to work creatively and we hope our proposals are received well by the council. We are however working on contingency plans if we are not successful.'