A land trust rooted in activism, with a mission to acquire and steward property on behalf of the local community, has secured vital funding for its latest property procurement.
Stokes Croft Land Trust (SCLT) is a grassroots institution governed and run by local people for the long-term acquisition and stewarding of community assets in the Stokes Croft area of Bristol. Its goals are to promote engagement of local people with the future development of their area, support local economic activity and provide workspace for local artists, designers and small businesses which align with their charitable objectives.
Co-operative & Community Finance (CCF) and the Co-operative Community Shares Fund worked together to help SCLT secure a loan and community shares enabling the purchase of two freehold titles which together make up one building in Stokes Croft’s cultural quarter.
The acquisition will bring the property into community ownership and secure the home of community interest company the Peoples Republic of Stokes Croft (PRSC).
By purchasing this first building, SCLT says is fighting back against gentrification of the area and providing a home for the arts and wider community development initiatives. PRSC also supports rough sleepers in the area, collecting donations and providing a clean blanket and tent store, workshops and outside facilities such as water and electric points accessible 24 hours a day.
Tim Coomer, business development manager at CCF, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have supported SCLT to purchase PRSC HQ. The building is a vital asset for Stokes Croft, a vibrant, diverse and culturally significant community in our home town of Bristol.”
As a HQ for PRSC, the property (covering around 6,000 square feet in total) includes a central performance space which incorporates a kitchen and bar which is rented for a variety of community gatherings, exhibitions, workshops and events. The building also includes a workshop screen printing studio, a digital radio studio which can be rented on a sessional basis, artist studio spaces and facilities for decorating and firing the famous Stokes Croft China which is sold by PRSC in an adjacent shop.
Hilary Sudbury, director of SCLT said: “Our community share offer culminated in close to 400 local people and organisations becoming members of SCLT, through the purchase of shares, to enable SCLT to purchase its first building into community ownership. We are grateful to Co-operative and Community Finance for their loan and equity investment as part of the finance mix and SCLT were pleased to announce the completion of the freehold purchase of the building, known locally as PRSC HQ, at the end of Sept 2023.”