Raising the funds to buy Portland Works was one of the largest community purchases in the UK. Since then over 8000 sq ft has been renovated, opening up more workshops for tenants and space for educational activities.
8 years in, we have so much to tell you about! The generosity of local people who have supported our fund raising, and the success of Friends of Portland Works (FoPW) in securing charity funding, has made a real difference to Portland Works.
Working closely with the Board of Portland Works Little Sheffield Ltd, Friends have funded a wide variety of essential repairs, restoration and facilities developments. By the end of last year (2021), we had awarded over £45,000 in grants to accelerate the programme of improvements. Here is a brief summary of our more notable awards:
- Equipping Makerspace with a good-quality AV system, seating and graphics display screens. Makerspace has a capacity of 60 and has hosted many and various successful events, some organised in house and others by hirers.
- Repairing the top of the original chimney, which had become overgrown and dangerous.
- Improving the frontage of Portland Works on the Hill Street and Randall Street elevations (new gratings, downpipes, guttering etc and replacement of rotted bricks near street level)
- Dealing with leaks on the two flat roofs of C Block and the Forge (the water ingress was causing damage to occupied workshops)
- Funding a mess room for use of the volunteers and tenants
The Randall Street/Hill Street projects are ongoing and FoPW has committed funds to support the work still to be done e.g. the replacement of the basement windows on Randall Street.
Our new fund raising priority this year is the D Block windows. The scaffolding is up and plans being made to repair/replace 38 window frames plus the broken, missing, and damaged panes. Our sponsor a window campaign has sparked public interest and resulted in well over £1,000 of donations, increasing each time we attend an event to promote Portland Works.
With the lifting of Covid 19-related restrictions, Trustees are getting out and about again, attending heritage events and spreading the word about Portland Works – a success story in the making! There is still so much to achieve at the Works, it is an old and battered building which has been much altered since it was built in 1879, each change witnessing an important aspect of its history.