PopRecs is a record shop, community space, coffee shop, live music venue and bar in a former department store in Sunderland city centre.
The Grade II listed building is part of a row of three 18th century buildings saved by Sunderland City Council from delinquent private ownership. The Council then gifted the buildings to TWBPT, in a state of dereliction.
As a Heritage Development Trust, TWBPT exists to rescue buildings at risk and bring them back to life, and works with charities, social enterprise and CIC's to find new uses for lonely buildings.
It was clear that the heritage of the buildings was not enough justification to rescue them, so together with PopRecs, TWBPT had to create a vision around the buildings’ use and social impact.
Pop Recs will take the buildings on a full repairing and insuring basis, and will contribute to a sinking fund for culture maintenance. The space is now delivering a range of community and retail uses ranging from live music to knitting.
Since the success of this scheme, the Council have offered TWBPT a further two buildings so they can expand on the cultural regeneration of the high street.
The project has had support from the Architectural Heritage Fund through their transforming heritage programme, has developed a Historic England Heritage Action Zone, and has secured funding from the Arts Council Great Place Scheme.