Last year Plymouth was named as one of the UK's first social enterprise cities. We have a lot to be very proud of when it comes to nurturing, growing and delivering successful social enterprises.
To mark Plymouth's Social Enterprise Week I visited RIO at Devonport Guildhall, one of the best examples of how social enterprises are changing communities for the better by working with communities to achieve that change.
Social enterprises have such potential to make Plymouth an even better place to live, not by doing things to our communities but by working with Plymouth's communities to achieve positive change. I've visited Devonport Guildhall many times in the past few years and every time I've left inspired and enthused about what is possible when we work together.
Devonport Guildhall is an amazing place to visit and a superb example of how social enterprise-led regeneration can work. If you haven't visited yet or haven't seen Devonport since its regeneration please head down there.
Being shown the new Robert Lenkiewicz painting in Devonport Guildhall - looks superb.
What to see
- Visit Devonport Guildhall: The Guildhall is an amazing piece of Plymouth architecture and has been home to Devonport's courts, police station, council as well as markets, businesses and community celebrations. Since its restoration in 2010 it has become one of Plymouth's hidden gems - well worth a visit.
- See the Robert Lenkiewicz painting now hanging in the Guildhall. It has only just been installed but looks like it was painted just for this location - a really superb piece and and it is one of the few Lenkiewicz paintings on public show. Find out more about Lenkiewicz here.
- Climb Devonport Column: now fully restored to its original glory climb the steps to the top of Devonport Column and look out on a spectacular view of Plymouth. I climbed to the top in the summer and you can watch my video of the view from the top on my Instagram here.
- Try artisan bread: The Column Bakehouse makes some amazing bread and is another social enterprise success story in its own right. Sign up for a baking course or simply enjoy a cup of tea and a slice of cake. It is well worth a visit.
- View art in the cells: Devonport Guildhall has a set of amazingly preserved cells. Instead of housing the criminals of Devonport they now host a rotating art exhibition in conjunction with the fantastic Kaya Gallery. When I visited they were showing off some really very good art work by students at Plymstock School. The cells are just next to the bake house so well worth a look in if you're sampling the bread.
- And much, much more.