Putting Bridport on the map and benefiting the community

Press release for the LSi, Bridport, 10th June, 2021

Details have been revealed of plans to ensure a bright, sustainable future for a Bridport landmark. 

Bridport Area Development Trust has formed a new partnership that will work in the LSi in East Street to provide the financial stability that will secure the building’s long-term viability.  

A BADT spokesperson said: “The LSi is a historic building, and costly to maintain. As a ‘working building’ it also requires technology and facilities that are up to date, safe and fully functional – everything from lifts for access for everyone to high-speed broadband. The cost of running the building with one staff member is £80,000 a year (though there have been no BADT / LSi paid staff in the LSi since April 2020).

“The Trust wants the community to know the challenges that made it essential to appraise the LSi’s position with the support of the National Lottery Heritage Fund and other major stakeholders, using independent feasibility studies, to achieve a realistic, sustainable solution.

“Everyone involved in the partnership wants to provide financial stability while staying true to the vision and principles upon which the building was regenerated.

 “In the past year the Trust has significantly reduced running costs and successfully applied for grants that have enabled the LSi to get through the Covid crisis. Without these grants the LSi would have gone under. But the building also needs a reliable income to survive in the long term.”

The Trust believes the partnership will deliver a wide range of benefits:

  1. Keeping the building open. The new combination of tenants ensures that the LSi is sustainable and will be well-maintained during economically uncertain times.
  2. Providing employment opportunities for the local workforce, support for business startups and mentoring for ambitious young people from all backgrounds.
  3. Putting Bridport ‘on the map’ as a vibrant, forward-looking hub for the development of personal and business skills relevant to the challenges of today’s world.
  4. Retaining Crowdfunder’s thriving office in Bridport, where it will continue as a growing, high-tech operation helping individuals, groups and businesses, locally and nationally, to raise funds for new enterprises and worthy causes. Below is a snapshot of the support delivered within 20 miles of Bridport:
  • £764,350 raised by 251 projects
  • 10,689 people have supported a local project through Crowdfunder
  • Crowdfunder unlocked a further £70,150 from Dorset Council, Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership, NatWest, Devon Council and Sport England. 

Simon Deverell, cofounder of Crowdfunder, said: “We want to continue to make the LSi a thriving hub of creativity, social entrepreneurialism and community impact. Crowdfunder is fully committed to ensuring that our presence here continues to benefit and add value to the local community in Bridport.”

  1. 3DC is a new project from Clive Stafford Smith, a local human rights lawyer with an international reputation. It offers opportunities for young people from any background to become 3DC apprentices to learn how to design and build a better future in the context of human rights and environmental and economic justice. They will be mentored, trained and supported by:
  • A local and remote Schools Programme (primary and secondary) raising awareness of 3DC’s opportunities for students. It has already engaged with seven local secondary schools who have welcomed the concept.
  • One-to-one mentoring directed at young people at different stages of their development, creating work experience, internships and 3DC apprenticeships, unlocking qualifications, growing skills for project incubation and opening doors to employment in the ‘third sector’, which includes voluntary and community organisations (both registered charities and other organisations such as associations, self-help groups and community groups), social enterprises, mutuals and co-operatives. 
  • A concrete and practical resource development programme training the apprentices to raise funds for their projects in partnership with LSi co-tenant, Crowdfunder.
  • More than 40 mentors with experience and expertise in a wide range of fields.
  1. Keeping the LSi’s doors open to charities, community groups, individuals and businesses by making the events, meeting and training spaces (including the atrium) and the desk spaces available both to those able to pay and to those not able to pay.
  2. A minimum of six bookable public events a year, presenting future-facing topics created and delivered by the people working in and from the LSi.
  3. LSi open days. Dorset Architectural Heritage Week will be supported to allow the community to explore the whole interior of this historic building annually.

The BADT spokesperson said: “The LSi was rescued from near-dereliction in 2009 and has been restored to an innovative role in the social, cultural and business life of the town. It has been a long and challenging journey, but it has always had the best interests of the community at its heart. The LSi is now better placed to face the future and help to build an even better Bridport.”