WORKING TOWARDS THERENOVATION OF AN OLD PUB BUILDING
The Portland Inn Project CIC (PIPCIC) is working towards the renovation of a disused pub building we were successfully given (through the process of Community Asset Transfer) by the council on a 25-year lease.
PIPCIC runs from the heart of a residential area, home to a diverse community that is largely made up of families who have a deep-rooted history of living and working in the area. There are also a great range of cultures represented in the area, some that have been living in the city for generations as well as families recently moved to Portland Street from all over the world, who are excited for opportunities to integrate and learn more about the area. Additionally, the city council has recently launched a new phase of the £1 home scheme for the area, which will invite further new families into the area.
The pub building has fallen into disrepair having been empty and unused for almost ten years previous to the project beginning in 2016. It, along with other boarded up properties in the area, have a negative impact on morale locally. Improving the building – making it beautiful and a hive of activity, will undoubtedly improve morale and boost our community’s pride in the local area. PIPCIC, in collaboration with residents, has worked hard to challenge the area’s negative stigma, and overthrow negative stereotyping.
On completion of the renovation of the building we anticipate delivering a programme that builds on our already ambitious activity.
From our project’s beginning, we have been working to make the architectural design of the building a collaborative process. Starting with the Architecture Summer School in 2018, led by our architect Godson Egbo; we opened up the design process and were able to make a good start with how community members wanted the building to look and feel and work. It has been an inclusive and empowering project, reflected in the designs for the building – which will house a ceramics workshop, social space, community kitchen, roof garden, artist residency and key holder flat. The multi uses for the building reflect the requests of locals, and the project’s commitment to making the building viable and sustainable.
Our aim is that the programme offered from the building will generate a self sustaining income, in order for it to be self sufficient within 5 years from completion of the renovation works.
Importantly, the Portland Inn Project is in an area of the city of Stoke-on-Trent where there is no local meeting place for local residents. The pub and the local shop are boarded up, and the previous community centre (which had been operated by Midland Heart until they sold off all of their residential assets in the area) was sold to a private company and is no longer accessible to the community.
What we have learned during this collaborative process to redesign a community building, has been overwhelming at times, but what has been the most significant learning is what happens when people are enabled to make change for themselves and their neighbourhood. This is what means the most. Trust has been built here, and now we need to see this through to show what can happen when people work together.
This will be a platform for the project and the community of Portland Street to come together and redefine itself to communities from outside of the area, by making a part of the programme open to a city-wide audience.
We’re so excited to work with architect Godson Egbo on this project. He has been committed to working with us since 2016 to ensure the building’s design is truly representative of the neighbourhood and meets the needs of our project and community.