We recognise that for many people the work place consumes the majority of their time and energy. Work Space was started to provide people from all backgrounds with an opportunity to find some peace in the middle of busy and sometimes stressful working lives using Christian principles.
Green Road Park
When Paul & Emily Bradbury first arrived in Old Town, Poole and started to get to know people in the community they began to look for ways to build community through service. It soon became apparent that one of the issues people were very passionate about was the state of the local play park. The local authority has invested a lot of money in play parks across Poole but for some reason this play park has not received any. Furthermore the park was looking tired and in need of refurbishment.
Work began in the winter of 2012 and the park was opened by the then Mayor of Poole, Cllr Carol Evans in June 2012.
The legacy of that project however, apart from a beautiful and well loved new park, is the relationship with the community. This was a genuine community-led project with residents from the local housing estate working alongside Council officers and local politicians. It was a huge achievement which gave a great deal of credibility to PMC in the local community.
We developed an association with this cafe in Poole High St when PMC began renting an office at the top of it in 2009. Gradually much of the life of PMC (Space for Life, Reconnect) began to find a home there through the welcome of the owner. Then in October 2011 the cafe unfortunately went bust and we began to pray and consider whether God might be calling us to run it ourselves. Having raised £17,000 very quickly and built a team with the sort of experience necessary we took out a licence and opened in early February 2012.
As we developed the project however it became clear that our model of a community of staff and volunteers at the heart of the project was going to be hard to sustain with the constant demands of running a catering business. The building, beautiful and quirky with bags of character, was also a physically tiring place to work in. We came to the conclusion that to run the business sustainably we would have to compromise on the vision of community at the heart of it. So we reluctantly but unanimously agreed to bring the project to a close in December 2014.
The communities that grew within No34; Reconnect, Space for Life, a knitting group, a book group as well as the relationships within the cafe as a whole, have all moved on well from No34 itself. Many volunteers and staff have found a home at Wesley’s, the new cafe at The Spire Centre on Poole High St. Reconnnect meets there, Space for Life has found a fantastic new home at The Lookout Cafe in the Dolphin Centre. The story of No34 expresses our commitment to risk and to a nomadic, incarnational mode of community and mission which holds the value of buildings lightly and which remains open to the Spirit moving us on.
Old Town Community Garden
Another issue for the local community that was picked up in the early days was the lack of outdoor space for many people, especially those living in high rise blocks. We planned to explore how we might get to know people, build community and provide some outdoor activity for local people. As we began to think that growing vegetables together might be a way forward we came across a notice on the door of the local Children’s Centre asking for anyone who might want to get involved in a community garden. And so Old Town Community Garden was born. A small number of local families met on a Saturday morning once a month to tend a small plot of land in the garden of Old Town Children’s Centre.
After 3 years however a number of key families moved out of the area and we realised we were going to struggle to maintain the garden with those left. Since the end of the Old Town Community Garden another community garden has been started in the communal grounds of the Old Town estate.