Bridge 5 Mill is a converted Mill based in Ancoats, and serves as the base for 18 different tenant organisations as well. It is also open for use as a venue. From this brief description, you might be led to think that there is nothing out of the ordinary about Bridge 5 Mill, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Bridge 5 Mill was refurbished sustainably, using sustainable building materials and practices wherever possible. “Examples of this”, Michelle says, “include the flooring in the conference room, which was once a sports gym floor”. Bridge 5 Mill is also powered sustainably: they use Good Energy as their electricity supplier and have solar panels as well. The community of tenants make sure to recycle, reuse and repurpose as much as possible, and also share supplies to reduce waste. Tenants are accommodated based on sharing the Bridge 5 Mill ethos and ideals, and need to be committed to following their sustainability policies and principles.
Anyone can use Bridge as a venue, whether for a conference, workshop, away day or other such session. When catering they ensure the menu is not only vegetarian, but also provided by a local social enterprise, such as Back on Track or Good Mood Food, as Bridge 5 Mill feel it is important to support other Manchester based organisations. Today saw David Pierpoint, CEO from the Retrofit Academy, deliver a training programme on developing skills and knowledge to ensure people are delivering low energy products that work, creating sustainable outcomes and delivering higher carbon savings.
When asked about the wider benefits of Bridge 5 Mill’s work, Michelle suggested one of the biggest things was that “we connect people”. This goes not only for the tenants, who occasionally hold vegetarian BBQs and “speed dating” networking events to share ideas and information, but also for the local community, who are encouraged to engage through Bridge 5 Mill’s active Twitter account. Through that, people can find out about all the environmental work happening in Ancoats, as well as any other goings on. Michelle sees Bridge 5 Mill as a hub for “a community of people who are trying to do things to change society and trying to work for the benefit of the environment and sustainability”.