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A Magazine for Sheffield

Co-ops: Portland Works / Hazelhurst / Regather / Sheffield Renewables

Portland Works embodies the spirit of Sheffield. The history of this listed building in Sharrow is intertwined with the invention of stainless steel. The first batch of cutlery ever to be produced from this remarkable material was manufactured here. It still houses innovative metalworkers, alongside artists, musicians and other craftspeople. However, the building is in a rundown condition and has been threatened with closure and speculative development.

An Industrial and Provident Society has been formed as a community benefit, not-for-profit social enterprise, with the aims of buying Portland Works; restoring its architecture to its former glory; transforming derelict areas into affordable workshops for talented young metalworkers, artists and craftspeople; providing facilities for training, educational work; and promoting Sheffield's heritage, so that diverse audiences can be inspired by the story of the Works. Money is being raised through donations and a Community Share issue. The share issue has recently been extended to June 2012, with an aim of raising £400,000 through share sales, donations and loans. Investing in Portland Works will help develop craftspeople, foster new jobs and businesses, and give the tenants and the community a voice in creating its future.


The formation of Hazelhurst Community Supported Agriculture Co-operative (CSA) was inspired by the ideas behind the Transition movement. It represents a practical response from the Heeley and Meersbrook community to the threats of climate change, peak oil and loss of biodiversity. Hazelhurst aims to provide a direct link between the production and consumption of food, creating a mutually supportive relationship between local growers and the diverse range of nearby communities.

By growing local organic vegetables, it is helping to build the resilience of the local economy. By using ecological farming methods, it also minimizes the environmental impact of food production and aims to improve the food-growing potential of the land for future generations. It will enable local people to have access to productive organic land and nature conservation through community activities, courses, volunteering opportunities and events. Volunteers can gain knowledge about how to grow their own food, gain hands-on experience of production, acquire new skills and share their own skills with the project. By providing a workable CSA model in Sheffield, it is hoped that this is the first of many local schemes. The Hazelhurst share offer launch will take place on February 2nd at 6.30 pm, with food at the Quaker Meeting House.


Regather Co-operative is an innovative not-for-profit community cooperative and registered Industrial Provident Society based in Sharrow. It makes a difference by creating opportunities for self-employment, employment exchange, training and volunteering for the benefit of the local community and local economy. Regather enables people and communities to develop the knowledge, skills and experience needed for co-operative and community working through training, projects and work experience.

It encourages local people to buy, sell, exchange and volunteer their goods and services on a co-operative basis, working together to support each other and make projects happen. They can build collective resources and collaborate with each other, while experiencing the shared benefits of co-operative working based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity.


Sheffield Renewables was set up in 2007 with the aim of developing, funding, owning and operating renewable energy in and around Sheffield. In 2009 it launched as an Industrial and Provident Society for the benefit of the community. This enables the group to raise funds for Jordan Dam Hydro, an 80kW Archimedes screw hydro-project at near Meadowhall. It has grown from a small number of volunteers to having over 1,000 supporters. Recently 3,000 people voted for Sheffield Renewables in an online competition and they narrowly missed out on a £100,000 grant for community energy schemes.

Familiar to many at community events with their renewable energy models, they aim to communicate with as many Sheffielders as possible to raise £250,000 towards the £500,000 total cost of the scheme through community shares. Individuals, organisations and businesses have already invested £67,000 through an initial community share offer. With the public's help it is hoped that Jordan Dam Hydro will be the first of many community-owned renewable energy projects in the city.


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