PRESS RELEASE: Grassroots Bristol Arts Organisations Show Their Support for the Stokes Croft Land Trust

Invisible Circus Directors and Artspace Lifespace founders Wim Penhaul and Doug Francis urge other arts organisations to get behind the campaign 

The Invisible Circus CIC and Artspace Lifespace CIO have committed £1000 each to support the Stokes Croft Land Trust’s purchase of 17-25 Jamaica St, Stokes Croft, which is home to the People’s Republic of Stokes Croft HQ. Active in Stokes Croft for 15 years, the Stokes Croft Land Trust’s first priority is to secure the future of PRSC. 

In 2006 Artspace Lifespace took in its first site in Bristol, the former Audi Garage site on Cheltenham Road which had been empty for over five years and fallen into a serious state of disrepair. This multi-level car garages complex became a multi arts venue and housed the epic Invisible Circus site specific promenade performance ‘The Road To Nowhere’.

Invisible Circus Director and Artspace Lifespace founder Wim Penhaul said “As time went by we became aware of this gentrification process, when we started out just wanting places to make art and bring communities together we were completely unaware of gentrification, and being a cog in a machine I guess of the way an area could change and become gentrified. The fundamental issue with gentrification is that investing money into areas is not a problem, what so often happens is the money that is invested doesn’t actually end up in the actual communities where it is”

“When I was asked to sit on the panel of the ‘Troops of Gentrification’ as part of the Futur Ville, my heart sank a little. Before we realised that we were a cog as Wim mentioned, empty spaces in Bristol had started to disappear and the flats were going up. We never got paid by anyone to be part of that cog or add value for developers onto properties. We came in, with innocent visions of providing affordable space to create and then were moved on when our purpose had been served.” said Invisible Circus Director & Artspace Founder Doug Francis.  

20 years ago Stokes Croft contained some of the most deprived, run-down parts of inner-city Bristol, but the cultural diversity of Stokes Croft has been cited in best place to live accolades Bristol has received over the past 10 years. Unsurprisingly some parts of Stokes Croft have seen gentrification and huge growth of building projects. Big, terraced homes have been subdivided as flats and the very cultural diversity that Bristol is known for is under threat. In 2018 Coexist and many artists sadly left Hamilton House due to rising rents, a quarter of a million pounds was spent on the clear up of the Bear Pit, and the  Tesco at the centre of two nights of rioting in 2011 was granted a licence to sell alcohol in 2021 and gates have been installed at The Carriageworks despite the developers ‘absolute promise’ that Westmoreland House would never become a gated-community.

Doug said “Stokes Croft is reaching a crisis point in its evolution and for me it feels a little bit symbolic of wider Bristol. We don’t want to see the renegade, revolutionary art of Bristol santitised as artists are pushed further afield to Weston-Super-Mare and Newport or do we as a city come together to keep independent art spaces alive.  Wim said “Stokes Croft is a case in point for the need for an urban commons in Bristol. Bristol needs independent venues like PRSC that aren’t afraid to be loud and contentious or risk losing their funding. We’re super happy to be able to invest in it and we urge arts organisations across Bristol and the UK to sharing with their networks and also investing if they can” .

About Invisible Circus:

The Invisible Circus is a Community Interest Company (CIC). Based in the UK since 2002, the company’s ethos lies in its roots as a street performance troupe. Having spent the 1990s exploring Europe’s rich performance culture and embracing a rich tapestry of traditions, The Invisible Circus has grown up in arts festivals, street performances, carnivals and independent creation spaces.

About Artspace Lifespace:

Artspace Lifespace(ASLS)  is a Registered Charity (No: 1168150) that recycles vacant, under-used and problem properties into thriving creative resources.
We work in partnership with artists, building owners, property developers, local communities and organisations to secure and re-cycle interesting, unusual and often difficult buildings as vibrant multi-use art venues.


For all press enquiries and interviews, please contact Simon Stone, PR and Marketing Executive at OggaDoon on 07519 986237 or email simon@oggadoon.co.uk

PRESS RELEASE: Gentrification and How to Resist It

Urban Geographer, Author and TEDx Speaker Professor Loretta Lees joins the Stokes Croft Land Trust to discuss the implication for us here in Stokes Croft.

Stokes Croft Land Trust welcomes Loretta Lees, urban geographer and professor of Human Geography at Leicester University to Bristol to People’s Republic of Stokes Croft to talk to us about gentrification and how to resist it. Known for her research on gentrification/urban regeneration, global urbanism, urban policy, urban public space, architecture and urban social theory. Loretta was identified as the 17th most referenced author in urban geography worldwide (Urban Studies, 2017) and the only woman in the top 20. 

Based in London for 25 years, Loretta has supported a number of communities on the receiving end of gentrification pressure, particularly the notorious Heygate Estate redevelopment in Southwark. Loretta will be talking about the experience of 50 years of gentrification around the world, how it has been resisted, and the implication for us here in Stokes Croft.

This rare opportunity to hear Loretta speak in Bristol will be held at PRSC HQ on Wed 23 March, 2022 between 18:00 – 19:30. Tickets to this event are FREE and available from Headfirst Bristol with walk-ins permitted subject to availability. 

This event has been organised by PRSC and the Stokes Croft Land Trust, a community-led charitable community benefit society, which exists to bring land and buildings in Stokes Croft into community ownership. The Stokes Croft Land Trust is providing an alternative way to own and manage land in Bristol with collective ownership by and for the community. The Stokes Croft Land Trust wants to initially bring the PRSC HQ in Stokes Croft into community ownership, safeguarding PRSC as the anchor tenant. £192,470 of the minimum share target of £272,000 has been raised so far. They are seeking to raise a maximum of £345,000 in share capital.  

Event Details

Date: Wed 23 March, 2022
Time: 18:00 – 19:30
Cost: Free
Tickets: https://hdfst.uk/E73175

Venue: SPACE at PRSC
17-25 Jamaica Street, Stokes Croft
Bristol, BS2 8JP

Phone: 0117 214 0029


For all press enquiries and interviews, please contact Simon Stone, PR and Marketing Executive at OggaDoon on 07519 986237 or email simon@oggadoon.co.uk

PRESS RELEASE: Stokes Croft Land Trust Launches First Community Share Offer

  • Stokes Croft Land Trust (SCLT) first ever community share offer now open on Fundsurfer platform
  • The Land Trust is looking to raise a minimum of £272,000 to purchase commercial buildings in Stokes Croft, Bristol with a projected 3% return*
  • The properties will be transferred into community ownership safeguarding the assets from developers
  • The minimum investment is £100, with a special £10 entry level for residents in three neighbouring BS postcodes, up to a maximum of £34,500

Today, Thursday 25th November 2021, Stokes Croft Land Trust (SCLT) has launched its first ever community share offer with a minimum target raise of £272,000 and a projected 3% return for investors. The share offer will fund the purchase of 17 -25 Jamaica Street and 14 Hillgrove Street, known as the People’s Republic of Stokes Croft (PRSC), transferring the buildings into community ownership. The move will safeguard community assets in Stokes Croft from additional private sector property development and gentrification of the area. Working with Bristol-based investment platform, Fundsurfer, the Land Trust has set the minimum investment at £100 with residents in three Bristol postcodes, BS1 3**, BS6 5** and BS2 8**, able to back from as little as £10.

Currently owned by Angel Investors, the sale of the properties has been agreed at the 2013 purchase price to the Land Trust although a recent valuation report states the properties are now valued at £450,000.  In developing this commercial model, the Land Trust has acted to stop the gentrification of Stokes Croft caused by property developers and corporate businesses moving in to pursue profit, threatening the very culture that makes Stokes Croft attractive. The Land Trust will take control of the land, making community ownership, as opposed to private, the norm for the area providing social benefit and value to all who live in and enjoy Stokes Croft regardless of background and wealth both now and in the future. 

The anchor tenant, PRSC, will continue to use the buildings as PRSC HQ , once the purchase has been completed. The Land Trust is a Charitable Community Benefit Society – a membership based organisation – registered with the FCA.  All new investors will automatically become members with voting rights, giving equal say, alongside the other members, on what the Land Trust does next.

Speaking about the launch, Land Trust board member Keith Cowling said:

“We need you. This is our first project but we are aiming to buy more. We have developed this opportunity so that you can join, reap the benefits directly and for our city. And in doing so, you are actively helping us to preserve not only buildings but our unique culture, social enjoyment, the sense of belonging and the future opportunities for creativity and progress which Stokes Croft is well known for. This is critical to our city. We are already witnessing the slow erosion of the Stokes Croft identity with the redevelopment of Carriageworks and this must stop. You can easily be part of that. Join us today.”

The community share offer launch coincides with the opening of a city-focused exhibition providing a spotlight on PRSC’s history, Stokes Croft battles that have been won and lost, Community Wealth Building information as well as an area to find out more about the share offer and opportunities to back on the spot. A series of events are planned during November and December including an evening with Bristol Community Land Trust to discuss gentrification, a talk on Community Wealth Building plus a Land Justice Film Night.

Supporting the community share offer, local Co-operative & Social Enterprise Development Worker, Hilary Sudbury said:

“Raising capital to buy or safeguard community assets through a community share offer is bringing the power of collective action into play.  Buy shares, become a member and have your say in the organisation thereafter. 

Bristol has seen successful community share offers from Bristol Energy Co-operative (renewable energy assets), Bristol Community Ferries (the iconic blue and yellow harbour ferries) and The Exchange (music venue).  Further afield, successful community shares initiatives include Komedia & The Bell Inn, both of whom successfully bought their premises in Bath, and Clevedon Pier, Clevedon Community Bookshop and Low Carbon Gordano (renewable energy) have led the way in North Somerset.”

Investment to the community share offer is through Fundsurfer – please read the share offer document before investing. To find out more about the Stokes Croft Land Trust, subscribe directly to their mailing list here.

* Any money you invest in community shares is fully at risk. Community share offers are exempt from, or outside the scope of, statutory regulations that apply to the public offer of shares and other financial promotions. Applicants have no recourse to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, or the Financial Ombudsman Service.


For all press enquiries and interviews, please contact Simon Stone, PR and Marketing Executive at OggaDoon on 07519 986237 or email simon@oggadoon.co.uk

PRESS RELEASE: Stokes Croft Land Trust to Launch Community Share Offer with Evening of Music and Talks

  • Stokes Croft Land Trust (SCLT) will be launching their first ever Community Share Offer on 25th November
  • The event, held at People’s Republic of Stokes Croft (PRSC) Space, kicks off the opening of the history of PRSC exhibition 
  • Immigrant Jam, part of the Immigrant Swing family, will be performing with Keith Cowling delivering a talk about the Land Trust’s ambitions for the city
  • Entry is free with more information at https://prsc.org.uk/event/stokes-croft-land-trust-launch-party

Today, Wednesday 17th November 2021, Stokes Croft Land Trust (SCLT) has announced a series of events kicking off with an evening of music and talks on Thursday 25th November at the People’s Republic of Stokes Croft (PRSC) Space in Stokes Croft. The evening heralds the launch of its first ever Community Share Offer to purchase 17 -25 Jamaica Street and 14 Hillgrove Street to transfer the building into community ownership. The event also sees the start of an exhibition exploring land justice, community ownership and the ongoing fight against gentrification. Anyone interested in supporting the Land Trust and finding out more about community assets and community ownership is invited to come along. 

The Land Trust aims to raise a minimum of £272,000 via the Fundsurfer crowdfunding platform in community shares on which they aim to deliver a return of up to 3% per annum (capital is at risk). The funds will be used to transfer the current PRSC HQ building in the heart of Stokes Croft into community ownership as an alternative form of land ownership with long term value for the city. The decision for investment and acquisition comes off the back of the growing trend for gentrification and absorption of vital and iconic community buildings into the hands of property developers such as Carriageworks. The Land Trust is ambitious in their vision to acquire a number of properties for community ownership to protect and preserve key city features, the communities within and social value for current and future generations of Bristolians.

Launching on 25th November with a vibrant event at The PRSC Space, will see a performance from local band Immigrant Jam, from the Immigrant Swing family of high energy, foot stomping, global fusion. Keith Cowling, SCLT board member, will deliver an insightful, punchy talk about why the Land Trust is conducting a community share offer, the importance of transferring vital, local buildings into community ownership to avoid ubiquitous property development, for the benefit of everyone who lives and interacts with the city. The launch also marks the opening of a city-focused exhibition providing a spotlight on PRSC’s history, Stokes Croft battles that have been won and lost, Community Wealth Building information as well as an area to find out more about the share offer and opportunities to back on the spot.

Commenting on the community share offer, board member Keith Cowling said:

“Now is the right time for us to act. Land and buildings are being rapidly consumed by the private sector to maintain the churn of property development and this is at the expense of the broader community, often pushing the people that we serve out on the periphery. Bristol has a unique history, a fantastic community spirit and an attitude to doing things differently. That’s why we believe our community share offer presents an opportunity to support what our city is all about. We’ve structured it so that all Bristolians and those beyond our city with an interest in city-based community ownerships can get involved and invest. Come and join us on 25th November to find out more.”

Local Co-operative & Social Enterprise development worker, Hilary Sudbury said:

“Many great initiatives in Bristol and the wider West of England area have raised the capital via community shares to buy community assets and manage them collectively, from pubs and music venues to ferries, bookshops, piers, supporters clubs and renewable energy.”

To find out more about the Stokes Croft Land Trust community share offer, subscribe directly to their mailing list here or attend the event and enjoy an evening of good music and conviviality. 


For all press enquiries and interviews, please contact Simon Stone, PR and Marketing Executive at OggaDoon on 07519 986237 or email simon@oggadoon.co.uk