New life plan for old buildings

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The Lyceum building currently lies unoccupied

The Lyceum building currently lies unoccupied

A Liverpool-based social enterprise is working with local school children and the public to develop a deeper understanding of the city’s past urban environment.

Supported by leading architectures and urban designers, Placed wants to help children have a say on the city they want to live in. By working with young people across Liverpool, the organisation teaches people about the environment through a team of 60 volunteers, and has previously worked with John Moores University.

Director Jo Harrop explained to JMU Journalism that after her team saw a news article on some historic buildings lying empty, they decided to act. She said: “Our team thought we could do a project and try to do something creative.

“We’ve identified a few buildings as a starting point, with the Lyceum on Bold Street being one of them. We think there are a lot of buildings that have potential and the first phase is asking the public to identify buildings and share their memories and stories of what makes them great.”

Set to begin around August/September time, the project will include walking tours, debates and an interactive website where the public can join in and participate by sharing their memories of their favourite buildings. In addition to this, Placed will also be working with schools for six months before ending in an exhibition.

Ms Harrop believes that the people of Liverpool are “proud of their environment” but are unaware of the amount of unoccupied buildings. She said: “We want them to share their stories and that will help to bring them back to life and give them a personality that will help shape what we’ll do in the future.”

Although they are dependent on funding, Jo has revealed that there has been a lot of interest from the public and potential partners. She has also called for people to come and support a forthcoming exhibition at the old Rapid hardware store in Renshaw Street on Saturday 9th March as part of a series of drop-in design workshops.

Ms Harrop added: “We want people to take pictures of empty buildings they see and post them on Twitter using #hiddenliverpool or to email info@placed.org.uk.”

About Joel Richards, JMU Journalism