Regather is a trading co-operative and cultural centre tucked away in a listed building in a corner of Sharrow. Its mission is to “give people the choice and opportunity to live, work and play co-operatively and create a mutual local economy” and it’s been doing this since 2010, bringing local people together and transforming a community.
Pay a visit to Regather on any day of the week and you’re likely to find something going on. It hosts film nights, supper clubs, a comedy club, gigs, workshops and more, that have attracted names such as Robin Ince, Josephine Foster and Thomas Truax. While you’re there, it’s likely you’ll be able to buy a homemade craft ale from Regather’s own brewery.
But it’s not just this full programme of events that keeps the friendly team at Regather busy. Its work extends to benefitting residents all over Sheffield. Regather’s Veg Box scheme delivers tailor made, local, seasonal and organic produce direct to homes across the city. Customers can choose from a selection of veg, fruit, eggs, milk and bread to be delivered weekly or fortnightly – and in the summer months, all of the box’s contents are grown in Sheffield. Regather's involvement in Green Homes Sheffield is helping bring together people who want to reduce their carbon footprint and their energy bills, with the people and companies to help them do it. And their joint venture with UnLtd& Esmee Fairbairn Foundation provides start-up funding and development support for social ventures.
Phew! And the idea for all this came from an essay that founder Gareth Roberts was writing about online business models back in 2001. Taking inspiration from other co-ops, local food growers, festivals and the transition movement (looking at preparing communities for what happens after fossil fuels run out), Regather grew from an idea, to a one-person business, to the co-operative organisation it is now. “We’ve been very clear from the start that Regather is a sum of its parts, where people have particular skills, experience, ideas, ambitions and aspirations to see new things happen,” Gareth says.
With an emphasis on meeting the needs of the local community and developing shared ideas, Regather is continuing to thrive with more projects and events planned for the future. So far the reaction from local residents has been overwhelmingly positive. They’ve seen a derelict building turned into the thriving community centre it is today. Litter and street crime around the area have gone down, flowers and trees have been planted and relationships between neighbours have blossomed thanks to the social nature of Regather.
- Words by
- Tom Roper
- Images by
- Gemma Thorpe