Tuesday, 25 October 2011

News - MP buys a slice of city’s manufacturing heritage (Sheffield)

A LONG-running campaign to save a piece of Sheffield’s manufacturing heritage has been boosted by Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield.

The Labour man put his hand in his pocket to buy a share in Portland Works, a complex of little mesters’ workshops where stainless steel cutlery was first ever manufactured.

Craftsmen, artists, musicians and artisans have come together to try to buy the Randall Street works, just off Bramall Lane.

They need £750,000 to purchase the buildings and start the restoration - and have asked members of the Sheffield community to buy a share in the project.

Mr Blomfield has now bought a share in the scheme.

Derek Morton, chair of the Portland Works Committee, said: “We have a six-month window of opportunity to ensure the survival of the works. We’ve had a wonderful response from 150 people, mainly from the Sheffield area, but as far away as Australia and South Africa, to the community share issue.

“We now have £140,000 raised in share sales and donations and need to double this by the end of January.

“Paul has supported this cooperative project from the beginning and has taken an active interest in developments.”

Mr Blomfield added: “Portland Works is a part of Sheffield’s heritage that we can’t afford to lose. The committee have a fantastic vision to develop Portland Works as a community-run social enterprise. Today there are still strong Sheffield manufacturing businesses, artists, musicians and craftspeople at Portland Works, and they need clarity about their future.

“If enough people buy shares then I know that together we can ensure Portland Works remains home to traditional Sheffield skilled jobs and crafts for another century.”

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