Photographer Tricia Porter returns to Liverpool to celebrate the rise of the city’s community businesses

Sourdough baker Owen McShane at Squash Toxteth

KNOWN for her 1970s portraits of Toxteth life, Tricia has revisited the city more than 40 years later to document communities fighting against austerity and the loss of services and spaces.

Her new collection – Liverpool 2018: A New Kind of Community – revisits some of the original areas. It showcases an ‘inspiring’ grassroots fight back, with community businesses working to transform their neighbourhoods.

Her photos capture a new kind of activism, grounded in the community business movement, and harnessing a Liverpudlian spirit. They will be exhibited at community business, The Florrie, in Dingle, in the New Year.

Kitty’s Launderette’s Grace Harrison and Rachael O’Byrne North Liverpool

The black and white and colour images, commissioned by Power to Change – the independent trust that supports community businesses across England – show communities reclaiming their neighbourhoods, celebrating diversity and providing a sense of togetherness.

The images form part of the trust’s new campaign ‘Liverpool is our Business’ that aims to shine a light on the importance of community business and the role it plays in supporting and responding to local needs.

Tricia’s original photographs, taken between 1972 and 1974, painted a vivid picture of everyday life in Toxteth. They revealed tight-knit communities being fragmented by economic uncertainty and aggressive redevelopment. She is keen to speak to anyone who featured in her original photos to see how life has changed for them.

Tricia explains: “When I photographed inner city Liverpool over 40 years ago, there was a sense that the communities and people there had simply been left behind and forgotten by the powers that be.

“By documenting the lives of the people living in these areas, I wanted to show the reality of their situation, which included joy, pride and togetherness, as well as great difficulty.

“It has been a heart-warming experience and an honour to have been asked to visit and photograph these community businesses and to see the positive impact they are having on the city’s neighbourhoods.”

The projects she visited include The Florrie, a restored Grade II Victorian community centre in the heart of L8, and Anfield’s Homebaked; a community land trust and co-operative bakery.

Tim Tierney and The Florrie’s guitar group Dingle

The Florrie’s Chief Executive, Anne Lundon, says: “We all remember Tricia’s photos from the ‘70s and those images have been relevant to many parts of L8. The Florrie lay derelict for 23 years and like so many of our neighbouring communities across Liverpool, we have to come together to save our assets and build up our communities again.

“Today, we are at the heart of the community and Tricia’s new work shows how much is being done across the city to make positive changes.

“Local people are looking to organisations like us and other community businesses for hope and a way forward and we’re delighted to exhibit this important collection of photographs.”

In the Liverpool city region, Power to Change has supported more than 30 businesses, all trading for the benefit of the community.

Power to Change’s ‘Liverpool is Our Business’ project highlights the growing importance of community business and the people making it happen. Over the next few weeks they’ll host events looking at the impact of community businesses, the future of the high street and Christmas spending, as well as launching a new film voiced by Sue Johnston.

Power to Change CEO, Vidhya Alakeson, says: “At a time when many areas are facing cuts and a lack of adequate local services, community businesses are playing a vital role by responding to local needs. It is a pleasure to present Tricias latest exhibition as part of our ‘Liverpool is Our Businesscampaign, which will draw attention to the essential work of community businesses and raise awareness of the Power to Change mission.”

The Tricia Porter and Power to Change ‘Liverpool 2018: A New Kind of Community’ free pop-up exhibition will be on display in The Florrie, 377 Mill Street, Liverpool from Tuesday 15th January to Friday 18th January 2019 before moving to a number of sites across Liverpool.

If you are one of the people featured in Tricia’s original photographs, Power to Change would love to hear from you at rebecca.hardy@bjl.co.uk or laura.hunt@bjl.co.uk.

For more information visit www.powertochange.org.uk