Empowering the Porter Brook Community

Year | 2021
Location | Craft Wood, South Wingfield
Clients | Craft Wood CIC

‘Empowering the Porter Brook Community’ is a Live Project based between Sheffield General Cemetery and The Cemetery Road Baptist Church. It aims to envisage an environmentally, financially and socially sustainable future for the surrounding Porter Brook neighbourhood, with community at its heart.

Our main task was to create a vision for the future of the area, with the aim of sparking interest in the community and existing local businesses. We set out to highlight the amazing moves already being made in the area, its history, and potential future opportunities. This was presented as a masterplan vision centred around the cemetery. A booklet and an app were produced, accessed via QR codes in the cemetery and at key points around the neighbourhood. The app broadcasts community resources available in the area and suggests how these spaces could develop in the future. 

The site masterplan has themes of energy production and water systems at its heart. Key moves include the activation of the river, with tiered seating stepping down to reconnect the community to the water. In addition, the incorporation of micro-hydro generators reintroduces energy production to this section of the river. The old snuff mill is revived to run demonstrations and open days showcasing the water powered systems. 

Within the masterplan, we took the Cemetery Road Baptist Church as a case study, exploring in detail strategic short, medium and long term plans for revitalising the historic building. The aim is for it to be converted into a community resource for the Porter Brook neighbourhood. We utilised low-cost high impact strategies in order to deliver feasible, implementable proposals. The under-utilised community spaces in the building have been reimagined, providing an energy café along with a community grocery. The energy café will educate people about sustainability issues and become a hub for a future community energy trust proposed by the client.

The project culminated in a community event day for which we constructed ‘The Porter Mobile’. This portable display device can be wheeled to various locations around the neighbourhood, displaying exhibition boards and engaging young people in craft activities. Our community day attracted a wide range of people from the local community, along with stakeholders and local politicians. The Porter Mobile can be used for engagement events hosted by the client. This, combined with the website will provide the tools for immediate community outreach while also enticing funding and potential for future projects.


Mentor: Wai Piu Wong
Client: Sheffield City Council and Cemetery Road Baptist Church
Location: Sheffield, South Yorkshire
Students: Fernanda Castillo Gimenez, Yik Hei Chan, Thomas
Cran, Amy Crellin, Elliott Forster, Isaac Gatley, Sandu Thisaranee
Jayasinghe, Evangelia Kapsali, Ella MacLeod, Muireann McHugh,
Valentina Rivolta, Yufeng Song, Lidong Wei, Dongcheng Xie,
Yutong Zhang