Re:Lit project, Poole: the end-of-year review

Back in the summer I wrote about a new project, Routes 2 Roots, that I’d been invited to get involved in. Routes to Roots is a homelessness charity, helping to support homeless peoplesleepers in Poole. As we’re at the end of the year I thought it was time to let you know where we are and how this Good News project is going – in pictures.

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The new drop-in and resources centre is in an old Baptist Church in the centre of Poole. The building has been purchased by Routes to Roots.
Although its a grant-funded project there simply isn’t enough money to run it on a commercial basis, so there’s a group of people, consultants and professional trades, who are working on a pro-bono basis.

And that’s why I started off by talking to Stuart Alexander and Mike Grubb at Michael Grubb Studios, custodians of the Re:Lit initiative.

For newcomers, Re:Lit is an award-winning initiative, originating with Michael Grubb Studio who were faced with the task of lighting a social project in Bournemouth with no money in the budget (sound familiar).
The MGS approached UK manufacturers to see what spare kit might be lying around on shelves; ex-stock; samples; redundant specials; anything that still worked and had a good working life in it.

With the blessings of MGS, I was able to start the process of putting a design together . . . built around I knew-not-what.
One of the interesting aspects of Re:Lit is that you don’t know what’s going to be available until you speak to someone who might have it . . . whatever it is.
Lighting designer on site talking with architect (Ken Morgan) to the left of him and electrician (Gary Vincent) to the right of him.
(please don’t mention lack of hard hats . . . it’s been said!)

And right from this very early stage of the project I gave a huge shout-out to Kate Roberts who got in touch, seemingly within minutes of me posting about the project.
Kate took on the job of keeping the specification under control, chasing manufacturers (and me) to make sure that everything happened the way that we needed it to happen.
Sounds like a simple, everyday kind of task – not when you’re working with a bunch of project volunteers and no one knows when the site will be occupied to receive deliveries.
And all of this happening during the coronavirus restrictions on movement around the country. I’m looking forward to getting kate to site as soon as we all feel safe enough to do that kind of thing again.

Step forward local architect, Ken Morgan, who has a garage big enough to provide the buffer between manufacturer and site.
Ken also has a van and enjoys playing delivery man while no one’s watching.

Here we see a van loaded with lighting fixtures, all provided FOC to the project

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Time to name-check these wonderful people and the companies concerned:

. . . and that’s just the list of those who actually supplied into the project. There’s another list of those who wanted to get involved, but we ran out of things to ask for!

I have to say, hand on heart, that there are times when you know that you’re working in an industry with people who really care. Not one person on the list needed to be asked twice.

Heading into the Xmas break, we’re happy to see the new high-level lighting in place.

There’ll be a bit of a gap for us in January because there’s a lot of building work to be done to construct a new admin space, new toilets and showers before we start to see the major lighting installation work underway.

To finish for now, here’s just a couple of random non-lighting images to give you an idea of what’s going on with this extraordinary project. On one hand, we have the 19th-century organ, which is needed to be reduced in width to provide admin space in the organ loft, here being looked after by Geoffrey Morgan, local Organs Advisor – and a commercial coffee machine that appeared on the doorstep one day. Brilliant.

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John Bullock is the editor of The Light Review

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