Share launch for cutlery works

A COMMUNITY group launches a share issue today (Thursday) as part of a campaign to save a historic cutlery factory.

Campaigners hope to raise at least £450,000 by selling community shares in the project to revitalise Portland Works, the birthplace of stainless steel cutlery, in Randall Street, off Bramall Lane.

Money will be used to buy the rundown building, which is home to more than 20 businesses, including metalworkers, engravers, woodworkers, artists and musicians, and to renovate it with subsequent rental income.

Already around £100,000 has been pledged by supporters. “The aim is to repay all share capital, so when people buy a share, they are effectively making a long-term loan to the Portland Works campaign,” said campaign leader Derek Morton.

“It’s a really exciting and ethical way for people to invest their money in the local community.”

In addition, grants are being sought from organisations such as the Architectural Heritage Fund and the Heritage Lottery Foundation to renovate the structure.

The share issue follows the blocking of plans to convert the grade II*-listed factory into bedsits after cross-party political backing and an online petition with more than 1,400 signatures. The launch will be celebrated by a party at the works including live music. Hundreds of guests are expected.