Safe Regeneration was established in 2000 by a small collective of young, disenfranchised artists working out of a disused community building in the multicultural community of Toxteth, South Liverpool.
In the late 1990’s, it began winning commissions from schools, charities, public services and private contractors to engage communities in the co-production of public artworks, but in the tight-knit urban communities of Toxteth and later the city centre, space was at a premium and rents were high.
As the city’s Capital of Culture year approached, rents increased and the market became so saturated with arts and culture activities that it became difficult to connect with participants.
In 2007 the organisation took the decision to relocate to Bootle, a couple of miles north of the city centre. There it found plenty of space, cheap rents and a community hungry to engage. It quickly established a base, gaining visibility and goodwill by working with local communities to create murals and regenerate local ‘grotspots’. Bootle may not have had the cultural appeal and allure of the city centre, but it offered plenty of opportunities to work with people eager to get involved, and the organisation developed a much broader range of projects and services.
To reflect a shift from producing participatory artworks to a broader emphasis on community regeneration, in 2015 the organisation changed its name from Liverpool Safe Productions Limited to Safe Regeneration Limited, registering as a charity the following year.
Charitable status is permissible only for companies that have ‘charitable purposes’ working for the public benefit and re-investing surplus funds into charitable work. Charitable status offered Safe several advantages including: making clear the organisation’s focus is public benefit, even if its financial strategy involves trading, thus providing reassurance to potential funders and investors regarding charitable purposes, governance and financial management; access to forms of funding only available to charities and a range of tax reliefs.
Today, Safe is firmly established as a key community hub facility in the Sefton community, supporting thousands of local residents and helping hundreds of small businesses, social enterprises, creative and social organisations to start up and grow.
The organisation also acts as a community-led and place-based regeneration body. It was one of the first organisations funded by Power to Change to enable its purchase of The Lock and Quay community pub.