Over the last 33 months, we have continued to raise money to pay Ron’s rent and council tax with the aim of eventually purchasing the whole building through Wirral Arts and Culture Community Land Trust, the organisation set up for this purpose with saving Ron’s Place as our flagship project.
We have been attempting to establish a suitable partnership with one of a number of development agencies and housing associations that would allow us to secure Ron’s for the future.
Although we came very close to what seemed like a perfect agreement with one such body, ultimately their circumstances changed unexpectedly and they were unable to fulfil what for us was the key element of the partnership – them initially buying the building, prior to us buying it back in stages.
Ron’s Place is the ground floor of a large, three-storey Edwardian semi, with a market value of around £465,000. Our intention was to use the income from the three flats above Ron’s to help pay the mortgage on the whole building.
Besides our search for a housing/development partner and our disappointment that our efforts fell through, there is another significant part to the current situation.
Over the last two and half years the landlord of Ron’s building has been both patient with us and broadly supportive. However, even before Ron died, the landlord had their own plans to renovate the entire building, returning all flats, including Ron’s, to general housing stock. This would, of course, mean Ron’s murals and fireplaces would be lost forever.
Last Chance to Save
In the absence of our major funding partner, and with the landlord now wanting to push on with their renovation of the entire building, we have one last real chance to save Ron’s.
Currently, given that the second and third floor tenants are in the process of being rehoused due to safety issues with the external staircase, our best option seems to be to lease the whole building for one year.
We would use this year for two main things. Firstly, we would undertake certain feasibility studies in partnership with another interested developer/housing body with a view to purchase. Secondly, with access to the entire building, we could begin to make Ron’s Place more available to local communities in order to demonstrate its power in stimulating creativity, empowerment and improved wellbeing.
We need to raise in the region of £50,000 for this first phase.
So – we are starting a renewed fundraising campaign. There are 3 projects we are currently working on to raise money, boost our profile and increase the membership of WACCLT.
1/ Our wonderful Ron’s Place patron Jarvis Cocker has confirmed a talk and book signing to celebrate his new book ‘Good Pop, Bad Pop’ at Liverpool’s Playhouse on Friday 30 September with all proceeds going to Ron’s Place.
2/ Future Yard in Birkenhead is hosting an event we’re calling IMAGINATE! on Sunday 25th September. We’re putting together an exciting programme of participatory art activities, music and film including a visit from The Caravan Gallery, Casey Orr‘s award-winning Saturday Town pop-up portrait studio, and footage of Ron’s Place by filmmaker Martin Wallace. Details to follow soon!
3/ We’re collecting donations of artworks and artifacts from well known figures (the more famous the better!) to auction online and at future events. We have over 100 people on our hit list but if you have contacts who may wish to support #savingronsplace, please let them know.
We are also gratefully accepting cash donations on our Support Us page:
Can you spare a couple of hours per week to help us?
We’re looking for people to help in three main areas: fundraising, social media and volunteering at events.
If you have experience in any of these, that would be fantastic but if you don’t, that’s fine, too; your time and enthusiasm are valuable to us and could make all the difference.