The Brimscombe Mill community seeks a new home after shock sale

Brimscombe Mill, a much-loved community hub in Stroud that houses charities such as The Long Table, has been given five months to find a new home after the building is silently sold.

By Sarah Kent  |  Published

The community charities of Brimscombe Mill in Stroud are urgently seeking a new location for their hub after discovering that the property has been silently sold this week.

With the new owners giving them until August 2024 to relocate, charities The Long Table, Kids Stuff, Stroud Furniture Bank, The Bike Drop and the Grace Network all need new premises to continue their vital work for Stroud residents. 

The Mill hub, which has been open since 2015, supports 53 jobs and countless community members through its social enterprises and charity work.

A spokesperson from the Grace Network, which are part owners of all the charities and social projects based at the Mill, said: 'In a surprising development, all of the social enterprises at Brimscombe Mill no longer have a home due to the property’s unexpected sale.

'This space, which we’ve lovingly enhanced with hundreds of thousands in renovations, is more than a venue. It embodies our commitment to this community.

'This is a shock to us all. We had been trying to engage with our old landlord to purchase the building or extend the lease, but he sold it in secret without any chance to counter. We have spoken to the new landlord, but he has no interest in letting us stay on-site. We are exploring other options for a home but we haven’t found anything viable yet.'

The charitable organisations based at the Mill are all community interest companies (CICs). One such business is The Long Table, which was founded by Tom Herbert of Hobbs House Bakery and Will Mansell in 2018 and serves hot food daily on a pay-as-much-as-you-can-afford basis using local produce and food waste destined for landfill.

In the past year it has fed 20,000 people with its very low-cost and sometimes free-of-charge-meals and employs 22 staff members, paying them each a living wage.

Other CICs based at the Mill include Kids Stuff which resells pre-loved children's clothes and toys; The Bike Drop which offers cycle servicing, bike and e-bike sales; and the Furniture Bank which collects and sells secondhand furniture and offers upcycling workshops. 

The teams behind Brimscombe Mill are hosting two events on-site to reach out for ideas and potential location suggestions. 'What's next for the Brimscombe Mill community' is on Thursday 21 March 2024 from 6pm to 8pm; and a community planning session will take place on Wednesday 10 April 2024 from 6pm to 8pm.

And in the meantime, until the Mill closes in August, the charities are urging residents to help the hub by popping in to have a meal, buy furniture, repair or service your bike or buy some children's clothes or toys.

Visit the Brimscombe Mill website for more information.

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