Social enterprise Effervescent has pioneered the use of empty buildings in Plymouth
with a bold gallery and café project in an old Halifax Bank on Derry’s Cross. Thanks to the generosity of the local community the charity was able to do the entire refurbishment with only one grant of £5,000.
Since opening the Radiant Space gallery has worked in partnership with children’s charities and Plymouth City Council, also working with Plymouth University to train new artists. With an agenda to drive social change, Radiant’s exhibitions are curated by children, young people and vulnerable adults.
The gallery aims to work alongside these groups to develop their skills and knowledge and train them as artists so they can create shows that are relevant and meaningful. The space is funded entirely by donations, by contracts for work and by grants for projects from funders like BBC Children in Need, BIG Lottery and Arts Council England.
In the past exhibitions have explored themes of loneliness, fear of monsters, political
posturing and discomfort. Recently the gallery has hosted a chilling evocation of child sexual exploitation called The Cold Truth, worked on by young people with lived experience. Events on this summer include Superheroes Show opening in mid-May, followed by the Plymouth Young Contemporary Open from July 2 to 9.
The end of July sees the DOG SHOW! a contemporary art show dedicated to dogs. The space also hosts other community and creative businesses including Attik Dance, a youth dance company aimed at young people and Highly Interactive, a small interactive development studio. It also gives room to Positive Futures, run by Plymouth City Council to support children and teenagers aged 10 to 19 and help them avoid crime, drug and alcohol misuse.
Designed by Effervescent director, Eloise Malone, RumpusCosy has a genuine
shabby chic style thanks to an eclectic mix of donated and second-hand furniture. Eloise describes Rumpus as “the sort of place we wanted to hang out in”. Food is sourced as locally as possible.
All fish is caught in Plymouth and fresh cakes are made in house by its bakers. Specialist tea is supplied by Canton Tea Co, JING Tea and Birdhouse Tea Company, while South Devon business Owens Coffee supplies organic, Fair trade beans and trains the baristas at Rumpus.
Around half the staff at Rumpus are young people who worked on arts projects over the last five or six years, who have wanting to stay with Radiant to develop careers in hospitality or catering. All profits made at Rumpus goes towards the work that it does with local children and young people in the community.