As a public arts, events and retail business, Covid-19 has hit the PRSC hard. However this crisis has given us a chance to discover the resilience and creativity inherent in the PRSC staff team, and to explore potentials we didn’t know we had.
Since then our online china shop has been kept running by two members of staff who separately come into the shop once or twice a week to process the orders. and our loyal customers have helped to keep a small regular income coming in.
Our resident mural artist Object… has been working with the Medical Humanities department at Bristol Uni to create a series of public health messages on our mural wall in a project called ‘Medicine on the Walls’. In the latest iteration of this project Object… exchanged sketches with Msale – a mural artist in Nairobi – and they each painted the same design on walls in their own neighbourhood simultaneously. Keep an eye out, we have more Medicine on the Walls murals coming up.
Meanwhile, recognising the increased vulnerability of the rough sleepers left on the streets after the council’s big push to move people into hotels, PRSC continued providing our Street Survival sessions. Throughout this crisis, every Tuesday 2-4pm, people have been dropping in, getting a free cup of tea or coffee, having a wash in the sink, or picking up some soap, a tent or clean dry sleeping bag. We also distribute updated information about homeless services from Caring in Bristol, info sheets are displayed on our shop door as well as at Street Survival sessions. This is the only activity still running in our beautiful venue.
After speaking to hungry rough sleepers and local homeless charities, PRSC teamed up with the chefs at Jamaica Street Stores to create the Stokes Croft Food Project. We currently distribute around 200 fresh, nutritious meals per week to local rough sleepers and another 50 to the National Food Service who support low-income households facing food poverty. In the last two weeks we have also started providing meals to the Bristol Food Union which caters for frontline staff and key workers.
With less day-to-day activity we’ve had a chance to scrutinise and share info about property developments in the neighbourhood; we shifted the May edition of the People’s Art Fair online and into the window of our china shop, and for several weeks we ran this as a free entry, open submission exhibition. We have also been running a public appeal on behalf of a local care provider to get some puzzles or games made for their residents.
So what’s next?
We are currently in the middle of a huge overhaul of our china stock and online shop, with the intention of reopening as a more streamlined and coherent business. We are also taking this opportunity to redesign and refurbish our venue bar so we will be able to reopen a more visually stunning space than the one we closed.
How can you support the PRSC?
If you want to send someone a gift (or treat yourself) and know that the money you spend will be poured directly back into the local community, please consider shopping at Stokes Croft China.