The community ownership of the assets, buildings and green spaces around them is central to tackling the worse of society’s ills and creating better places for people to live, work and thrive.

This has been an idea central to our work at Real Ideas since we accepted the challenge to transform the Devonport Guildhall in 2007, a journey that transformed us as much as it did the building. We quickly came to realize that was the ‘real’ bit of this challenge – the business of making a social enterprise building stack up over time and create a positive impact – was always the hardest part.

Since then, we have had the privilege to support communities around the country take on neglected assets and turn them into businesses for the community, many of them the historic, much love and central buildings in the places they belong.

Starting in 2014, one of the longest running, epic, community building sagas we have had the chance to be part of is the story of Trowbridge Town Hall, which remains close heart to this day. Starting with a deep dive business planning process, to support their asset transfer then, after some false starts, we pick up work again in 2019 and were delighted to see the Town Hall secure £8.1m renovation funding as part of the town’s £16m Future High Streets Fund renewal package.

Bringing big ideas into being is rarely a short process, but with the right ideas, people and organisation we can all make them real. We hope to continue to be part of the Trowbridge Town Halls story for years to come.