The Customs House’s Mini Makers supported by intu

Published: 7th May 2019


Intu Logo

Staff from The Customs House, South Shields had a busy day yesterday at intu Metrocentre in Gateshead. Earlier this year intu generously donated £5,000 to The Customs House Trust, backing Mini Makers and our other charitable activities.

For the uninitiated, Mini Makers sessions are craft sessions held in the school holidays at the South Tyneside arts centre. They are suitable for children 11 and under with their grown-ups*. Sessions are just £2 per child. You can find out more here

Thank You to intu

As a thank you to intu, for making a positive difference to so many children’s lives, the Learning and Participation team delivered a Mini Makers free drop in session on during the May Bank holiday (6th May 2019). Bank holidays always being an especially busy and exciting time at intu shopping centres with so much on offer for families to see, do and enjoy.

Elizabeth Kane Learning Officer and experienced Maker Assistants Jayden Blacklock and Ruth Sheldon with Marketing Assistant Alex Walker delivered a mammoth Mini Maker session for shoppers for six hours.

“We enjoyed making something as a family. We learned Daddy can’t draw faeries and three year olds are stubborn”


Reaching More Families

Talking to parents there were families from Swindon to South Shields, Forest Hall to the Scotland. intu Metrocentre is an inspiring destination encouraging visits to our region from across the United Kingdom. Most families stayed between 15 and 30 minutes. Although one Mini Maker was so engrossed she stayed for about 90 minutes and even came back after her lunch in the nearby Qube with it’s fantastic selection of eateries.

Elizabeth’s initial estimate was that the team helped around 250 people take part but after looking closely at the figures was delighted to reveal we helped about 250 grown ups work with approximately 160 under fives and 180 five to eleven year olds.

This brings the real number of people entertained and inspired by The Customs House at intu Metrocentre to approximately 600 people.

What People Taking Part Told Us

Being so busy it was tricky to capture feedback from everyone but to give you flavour of what grown-ups had to say here is some of the written comments they shared with us.

“Break from shopping! Free to be creative and use imagination.” Katherine

“I enjoyed seeing my daughter happy trying to create. I learned that I can spend more time with her(my daughter) doing things like this. She enjoyed it so much.” Camilla

“That it doesn’t matter about getting it perfect it’s about having fun.”

“Kids really enjoyed being creative and making the activity stage.” Dean

“We enjoyed seeing how much a 23 month old enjoyed taking part.”

“Super simple fun allowing kids to use their imaginations”

“Great session for kids and guidance from leaders.”

Making a Positive Difference

Clare Cannon, Community Manager, intu north said

We are delighted to sponsor the The Customs House Trust, backing the Mini Makers program. It was fantastic to see so many of our shoppers engaging in the activities and getting creative. The activity brought lots of joy and smiles to our malls and it was pleasure to work with the team.

Elizabeth Kane, Learning Officer said,

It was a really positive day. We helped lots of people get involved in the arts. You got the sense families really enjoyed having a break from the bustle of intu Metrocentre and left re-energised ready to shop some more!

It was wonderful for The Customs House to tell more people about our arts centre in South Shields. We have brought high quality arts and entertainment experiences to people across the North East for twenty five fun-filled years. With backing from intu, and all our other funders and supporters, the next twenty five years will see us work with even more people across the North East.

The Customs House wishes to thank the intu team for making us feel so welcome and supporting the activity. Thanks to Phil Steele for sharing our vision, Clare Cannon for her work engaging the community and Amy Bruce in co-coordinating the set up for our event.  Thank you to the security and customer service staff who checked in on our team throughout the day. Finally, a huge thanks to all the intu Metrocentre visitors  for taking time out to join in. Perhaps you will spot yourself in our Mini Maker gallery below?


Mini Maker Gallery

Thanks to the families who let us take a pic of their incredible Mini Makers. Can you spot yourself in our gallery of young creatives?

Are you Inspired by These Happy Faces?

To find out more about opportunities to support The Customs House work see