My Community Matters were initially approached by Stoke on Trent City Councils Safe and Sound Homes scheme as they were in the process of selling derelict properties for £1 to over 30 new tenants with the view of changing the fortunes of the area. They wanted us to work connect older residents with the new families and help with the integration and community cohesion in this challenging neighbourhood.
The Portland Street Community Group is the resident led service, which My Community Matters initially set up and who we have offered our involvement support and guidance to, to help them become the established, connected and active group with a deep understanding of the community needs which they now are. The challenge they have always faced is that they have no local venue where the community can come together and for local services to deliver interventions.
In August 2016 residents from the Portland Street Community Group (PSCG) undertook a large and ambitious community development and engagement project, which My Community Matters contributed largely to. This saw the PSCG open up a derelict pub for a month to use the space as a community hub. The experiences, learning and feedback gained by the group during this period would help to inform a business plan. Their proposal was then to be submitted to the city council to begin the process of the asset transfer of the derelict pub to the Portland Street Community Group.
What we did
By the end of the four week project the PSCG had:
- Delivered 54 different workshops and activities with 622 recorded attendees at activities at the Portland Inn.
- Engaged local people in creative decision making about their area, and about the future of the pub, via creative participatory methods.
- Delivered a strong programme of artistic and cultural activity, which activated the empty building, evidencing what it could be.
- Engaged local stakeholders, and key potential investors/supporters of the project in shaping the future of the pub.
- Located potential small businesses to make them aware of the pub building as a potential venue for their business.
- Piloted a range of activity within the pub building to see what worked for the area.
- Located over 30 partners and specialists to support the next stage of the Portland Inn Development project.
- The PSCG successfully raised over £18000 in order to fund this activity and members of the Portland Street Community Group and the community contributed approx. 120 hours voluntarily. This along with the activities held created huge social value in this neighbourhood during the 4 weeks.
- Worked with MCM to create a blog documenting all the activities during the 4 week project. The blog contained photos, videos, interviews links to presentations and news articles and offered a new way to collect data and evaluate local community projects.
Since the completion of the project MCM have supported the PSCG to complete and submit their business plan, which is hugely exciting and has massive potential. They have agreements in place with Appetite and British Ceramics Biennial who will use the space for their activities, create jobs and offer financial support to the project.
Proposed Income generation which the PSCG hope to bring into the Portland Street area.
Once satisfied that the ideas for the building fit with the council’s goals in relation to community asset transfer, the council has committed to spend up to £50,000
We are applying to Big Lottery Reaching Communities for a grant to complete the Stage 2 renovation. The fund would enable us to first apply for £100,000. We have also identified other funding bodies that would be relevant.
We will aim to submit an Awards For All bid, just under £10,000 as soon as we have confirmation of the project from the council,
They now wait to find out what needs to happen next.
“ The new objective of the PSCG is to achieve community cohesion, economic, social and cultural development by involving the community in the development of a pioneering community space, cultural hub and social enterprise.“
My Community Matters believe that our involvement with this group has helped them to ensure they have everything in place to achieve the new vision for the Portland Street neighbourhood.
We believe the Portland Inn to be an excellent example of Community Led Development, and have already shared the project at events and conferences across the UK.
- AHRC Common Ground, York University, 21 June, 2016.
- Engaging with Change, A3 Project Space, Birmingham, 8th October, 2016.
- Pecha Kucha Coventry, Tuesday, 8th November 2016
- Pervasive Media Studios, Bristol Lunchtime Talks: Friday, 18th November 2016
- Launch of the London Festival of Architecture, City Hall, London: Monday, 7th November 2016
- Pecha Kucha : Art, Design, Architecture & The City, The Whisky Bond, Glasgow : 6 July, 2016
- Turncoats Debate, The Glue Factory, Glasgow : 7 July, 2016
What people said
Activities in the community centre/pub will be important to gather people together to build a strong community and to inspire community spirit!”
What we achieved
‘Activities in the community centre/pub will be important to gather people together to build a strong community and to inspire community spirit!”
Delivered 54 different workshops and activities with 622 recorded attendees the Portland Inn in 4 weeks.
‘They took away our last community centre’ ‘It would be sad if the same thing happened to the pub
PSCG to complete and submit their business plan, which is hugely exciting and has massive potential. They have agreements in place with Appetite and British Ceramics Biennial who will use the space for their activities, create jobs and offer financial support to the project.