Nudge was set up in September 2017 by Hannah and Wendy, local residents who wanted to find ways to respond to what the community wanted to see change on Union Street in Plymouth.
Nudge recognises the impact that empty neglected buildings have on the street and how this combines with other complex local issues.
Nudge’s focus is bringing commercially unviable buildings back into use. Since 2017 they have delivered vibrant and creative projects that have brought the community together, and have invested in Union Street by taking ownership of a number of assets.
Their story gives real insight into the practicalities of how communities can lead change in their cities. As a Community Benefit Society they have 165 investors who have supported one of their buildings, The Clipper, and over 200 members. Their income comes from residential flats, creative and community tenants, venue hire, events, grants, and investment for specific projects.
As well as markets, events, public art and community support during the pandemic, Nudge runs four buildings – Union Corner, The Clipper and The Plot, and are starting to work on The Millennium:
- Union Corner - the starting point for the Nudge journey, an empty shop where people can meet, learn, perform and try new ideas and businesses.
- The Clipper - with a loan from Plymouth City Council, and some initial investors, Nudge bought this old pub in 2017. They later went on to raise investment through community shares. The Clipper now hosts a café, music hub and market place, and has two flats on the first floor which are let at affordable rents.
- The Plot - Nudge have operated this building on a lease and, since December 2019, have hosted the Theatre Royal, a Health Tech Hub with the University of Plymouth, and held markets and art fairs. There are 14 tenants in the building, including an international food court, and social enterprises focussing on mountain biking, energy efficiency, community radio, therapy, art and parkour.
- The Millennium - This building has been standing empty for 15 years, and holds special memories for lots of people. Built in 1931 as The Gaumont Palace, it’s been a dance hall, roller disco and much-loved nightclub. Work has started, and it will open for a mix of temporary and commercial uses in the immediate term while Nudge test what could work in the long term. Nudge part-owns this building along with a private investor, and will be running a community share offer to give local people the opportunity to invest in it.