Middleport Matters started as a Facebook group in September 2015 and became a constituted community group in November 2015, made up of 100% local residents. The group was founded by a local resident who wanted to make the area safer for her children to grow up in. The group is currently made up of 6 Directors and one Executive Director, as well as many other residents who volunteer their time each month. The group was initially formed through a number of listening events that asked the community to comment on what they liked or didn’t like about Middleport. This information has directed the planning of all events and activities run by the group and we aim to focus on aspects that are important to residents.
We passionately care about Middleport. We want to see it become a safe, thriving and welcoming place for everyone. We work towards improving our environment and empowering residents to create positive change.
Middleport is within the 1% most deprived wards nationally and as such the area has found itself in a state whereby residents feel disconnected from each other and let down by statutory services. Middleport Matters was set up to consult with residents and learn how to meet the needs of local residents in order to bring people together and create a sense of community pride and cohesion. We want the Middleport community to celebrate the amazing things that the area has to offer – Middleport Pottery, the Trent and Mersey Canal, Kilnworx Climbing Centre, Root n Fruit Allotment, Middleport Park and much more. We host a number of annual community-led, community-focused events at these locations to showcase what they have to offer.
The recent regeneration of the area has created a very mixed group of residents from the elderly, to young families, working professionals as well as those currently living on benefits. We also have a number of different nationalities here including English, Polish, Muslims and others. Many residents only moved to the area during recent years, since the new and refurbished housing was completed, and without opportunities to meet each other there was very little community spirit.
Local people are slowly beginning to take an interest in their community and are starting to work towards creating a better future for Middleport. We have seen a massive decrease in fly-tipping and rubbish on the streets because people are starting to take pride in where they live. A number of residents have said that their confidence has been improved dramatically since getting to know their neighbours and this made them want to stay in the area longer, instead of moving on frequently which had been their pattern of behaviour. Transient communities often suffer from a lack of community spirit. If we can encourage people to stay for longer, they will naturally become more invested in their area and the community cohesion will improve.