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Smithfield reflects on 2023 community activities.

Thriving Hanley destination, Smithfield, demonstrated a successful year of community and partnership engagement throughout 2023 with many wide-ranging initiatives.

During the year, the team behind Smithfield, Genr8 Developments, made a significant commitment to its social engagement ambitions through numerous activities, all created for the people of Stoke to enjoy.

With its commitment to invest in the communities which engage with Smithfield, 2023 saw the development of a range of meaningful partnerships with various stakeholders.

Community engagement

As the UK geared up to welcome a new monarch in May, Smithfield took the opportunity to bring the community together for some royal celebrations! Over 200 people attended Smithfield’s open area space to watch the Coronation live on the big screen, as local face painting and food and drink companies were on offer. Smithfield also invested in live stilt walkers for the entertainment factor, marking the celebration as the most popular event to be held in 2023 on the premises.

Summer saw a major focus on young people, where Smithfield once again partnered with local charities, ChitChat4U and BeeActive, to bring initiatives to the development. Families were able to enjoy a range of sports and reading activities free of charge over the holidays, despite the weather being less than sunny!

Alongside these activations, the existing urban beach was refreshed with new sand, toys, additional deck chairs and signage to revitalise/reinvigorate the space.

Football played a major part at Smithfield, too, as it signed a match, pitch board, and player sponsorship for Hanley Town FC’s 2023/24 season. In addition, the Smithfield team participated in the Lord Mayor’s charity football tournament and managed to get all the way to the semi-finals! Well done, team!

By integrating physical activity with the Smithfield offering, the scheme was able to engage with the community and show a dedication to tackling health and wellbeing barriers.

Partnerships

The development of key partnerships with local businesses, organisations, and education providers is pivotal in Smithfield’s ongoing strategy to enhance Hanley’s community offering. The team recognises that collaboration is key in order to maximise impact and reach throughout the area.

In February and July, Smithfield Works played host to both property-focused charity, Regeneration Brainery and Stoke-on-Trent College. Creative students at the college were able to showcase their final pieces in a pop-up gallery, whilst guests of the charity heard from Genr8’s senior team as it discussed careers in property. In a bid to make the most of the flexible and wide-ranging space, the session was followed by a tour of Smithfield and Clayworks to showcase a real-world example of successful regeneration.

In August, Smithfield Works supported local emergency services by registering as a Brew 4 The Crew venue for the Midlands Air Ambulance charity. Through the initiative, ambulance ground-crews are welcome to take a break with a hot drink when needed during their shifts.

A key partnership that Smithfield continued to build on throughout the year was with Stoke-on-Trent City Council and the Stoke-on-Trent City Centre BID. Particularly in December, Smithfield contributed to the BID’s festive ‘Giving Together’ appeal, where Smithfield Works was a collection point for boxes of supplies, all donated by members and locals. A total of nine boxes were collected, making a massive impact in the appeals outputs.

To close off the festive season’s giving, Smithfield continued their annual support by donating to the Macari Foundation, a charity that provides support and secure shelter for the homeless community in Stoke-on-Trent.

Richard Ingham, partner at Genr8 Developments, said: “Having been involved in the Hanley community for more than 10 years now, our commitment to investing more into the great communities that encompass our development is stronger than ever. Seeing people come together in so many ways last year is testament to the growing passion for Hanley and Stoke-on-Trent, and a desire by the local people to make the most of the assets that are literally on their doorstep. Integrating into the local communities and understanding the wants and needs of everyone involved really helped us deliver initiatives and support that truly makes a difference.

“For us, it was always about going beyond financial support and instead establishing and continuing long-lasting partnerships which will have significant positive impact. We’re set to be here for a good number more years yet, and that commitment will remain with us.”

As last year marked a key success in Smithfield’s dedication to supporting the local community and charities where possible, 2024 will see a continuation of this support as Smithfield gears up for another year of active regeneration in Stoke-on-Trent.

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