The Florrie is a spectacular Grade II listed building in the heart of Liverpool 8, covering the ward areas of Dingle and Toxteth. Built in1889 by local philanthropist, magistrate and mayor of Liverpool, Bernard Hall, it was the first purpose built club in the country for poor and working-class boys. Being a magistrate Bernard Hall could see the impact crime was having on the city and the focus of the Florrie was to provide instruction to keep boys out of trouble. The Florrie soon became popular for its sporting champions in boxing, gymnastics and football. Music also played a big part in the Florrie’s history; when he was 10 years old Gerry Marsden (later the leader of Gerry and the Pacemakers of ‘Ferry cross the Mersey’ fame) started his first skiffle band at the Florrie.
After serving the community for over 100 years the Florrie fell into economic decline and in 1980 closed its doors and remained closed for almost 23 years, the time it took for local people to raise almost £7M for the almighty restoration.
Re-opening in 2012, today The Florrie is a multi-purpose community hub offering affordable office and studio spaces, educational and recreational activities and workshops, sporting events and community arts and music events, continuing to build on those activities which formed the pillars of the Florrie’s work since the 1800’s. Since re-opening the Florrie has been delivering excellent outcomes for members of the community and maintaining the Grade II heritage building, whilst seeking to expand their reach to additional activities and services in new areas of provision.
The Florrie is at an important juncture in their development as the charity seeks to substantially increase its commercial income from the activities taking place as a result of funding from Power to Change by creating a major change in the building usage; utilising its assets in a new way to ensure future sustainability through the creation of new enterprise, employment and training opportunities.
Power to Change awarded The Florrie £140,500 through our Community Business Fund to kick start education and training courses for local people, and contribute to the salary costs of staff members, volunteers, the venue and equipment.
Through Power to Change the Florrie has secured a partnership to deliver employability training to a further 80 learners; from May, the Florrie will be included as a full partner in the delivery for a project that will extend to 2023. This will provide the track record needed for training and the first real additional income from training contracts as a direct result of our investment.
The Florrie aims to make a real difference by creating employment and training opportunities for local people and providing a space for social development, all free of charge, tackling disadvantage and lack of skills and opportunity in Liverpool.