£1 for a house | Made in Stoke-on-Trent


The Portland Street estate has suffered years
of state failure and cuts. A big regeneration project was cancelled by
the last government, seven years ago. That was just the beginning. We were just left in like a no man’s land,
there was boarded up houses everywhere, everything started going down bank from there. Sarah was one of the existing residents
left on the estate. Our last community centre the council sold,
there was a church that was just knocked down. The corner shop, the pub, the post box, which Royal Mail just suddenly decided to take out. They just ripped the heart out of the place. Hello, good evening. A midlands council is to sell derelict houses for a pound. The one-pound home scheme was Stoke council’s
big idea to turn this area around. Is it possible to pick up a house for less than the price of a cup of tea? And, it drew media interest from around the world. Thirty-three derelict homes were handed over
three years ago, together with a thirty-thousand-pound loan
to repair the properties. Anna is originally from Kent but had worked in Stoke
for 15 years as an artist. She bought one of the homes right in the middle
of the estate. Welcome to this, my house, and this is what you get
for a pound in Stoke-on-Trent. And, when we first came into this room there were
ferns growing on the inside of the wall there, I was I think about eight months pregnant.
Now, it’s a lovely family home. The homes came with one condition; the owners had to stay for 10 years or lose any investment in the house. We agreed that we would use our skills and experience to support this community. But soon, Anna saw the scale of the challenge. The first year or two it was like them and us,
they basically said: ‘You’re not welcome here.’ We’ve lost our neighbours, why should you, this new influx of people who have investment in your homes and we’ve had nothing, and we’ve been forgotten. We were about to get a taste
of what Anna is up against. One of her neighbour’s shouts that
she has just been burgled. Have you called the police? Yeah, ages ago. Five days she hasn’t been in her house and got burgled that’s how good the estate is. Basically, it’s just been trashed. Everything mate, everything. Can you imagine if her children did have
to come back to this. Nicky is helping her friend sort out the mess. Benefit Street’s got nothing on this. She’s a long-term resident who paints a devastating picture of the challenges facing the area. You can’t go to the shop after six o’clock, you don’t know who’s going to jump you for your purse and burglaries on the rise, knives, guns,
tasers there’s people coming down, shoplifters, desperately to sell stuff so that you know, they’re offering us, low income mums stuff, we’re gonna buy it, sorry, but we are. And you got hit by the benefit cap as well. Yeah, I have to pay £40 a week and with my bailiffs, council tax and everything that I owe, I’m on my arse, I’m on my arse. Now there’s another curse affecting the case,
the synthetic drug, black mamba. You wake up in the morning, you open your curtains there’s busts, there’s bodies all over the green where they’ve just been scoring mamba,
they sit there smoking it, collapse, my kids are coming out to go to school:
are they dead mummy? Are they dead? This is mamba head falling asleep on a bench here. Yeah look, been there five minutes rolled a fag, gone. The kid’s heads are damaged by the estate,
by what they have to live in. Anna’s big idea to fight back is to reopen
the pub as a community space. So, this would be the sort of community ceramics
social enterprise where we would hopefully make ceramic wares, and then the room with the carpet would be the sort of permanent community room. I’m talking about all of us together building this and,
you know making it work for all of us really. But, for Nicky, the process has been too slow,
she is moving out of the estate. I mean, I’m strong enough to live on the estate,
but my kids aren’t. I absolutely understand how you feel
because I’ve got a three-year-old as well. I’ve tried everything, and there’s no point, no point. All you get is, people like them, oh, we can sort, no,
you can’t sort an estate like this, it’s gone too far. It is really difficult, and it’s challenging to decide to live somewhere with all of these problems, but you know, I made a commitment that I would
come here and try and be part of a community, help a community to develop and, I know I’ve got skills that could help in that regard. Sarah has been close to giving up. Are we going on a bear hunt, on a bear hunt. But, she’s decided to take direct action with her camera. I started taking photographs of the drug users.
I’d just be walking the dog and you’d pass these people. We can’t go around it, we need to go through it. In the end I just sent all the photographs out to the council and, the lord mayor and MPs and everybody. You can’t argue with a photograph when
you’ve got all the evidence there. It was one where the kids were
just behind me making clay and we watched them buy, roll, smoke
and end up like that. You know, it is like an epidemic,
and something needs to be done. I just think you know, I can’t complain if I don’t try,
so I’ll keep going. It’s bonfire night and Sarah and Anna have joined forces to hold a defiant party and reclaim the green space. Right, duck, I’ll go and sort the sausages out. So, this is a brickmould. If you’re working with clay the change is immediate
and the transformation is immediate, and I think in this area that’s really helpful. It’s something to express your feelings with. As soon as we set up a workshop on the green space there we changed the rhythm of what’s going on, suddenly it isn’t just a forgotten corner of the city,
it’s a space where the community can come together. As always, there are those who are pessimistic. This area, it’s fucked, fucked, absolutely fucked.
You must be you know, absolutely insane to come here after,
I don’t know, eight o’clock. But, for everyone of them, there are also signs of hope. She was just saying she’d be really interested in volunteering when the pub’s open. Oh, great, lovely, I’m Anna by the way. I’m Tammy. Hi Tammy. Pleased to meet you. Were happy to be here and it means a lot,
thank you, cheers. Anybody else for a burger, hot dog, jacket potato. When my mum was alive, we used to
do these quite frequently. How does it feel then on a personal level like? Bittersweet. Hi, you alright? We can’t be beaten, we won’t be beaten,
and you know, we can make it good again. With money very tight, the council say the one-pound homes experiment has been a success. Now, they are back on the estate to launch
the next round of the scheme. This time there are very few media here,
but the stakes feel higher.

100 comments

  • Watch the rest of the Made in Stoke-on-Trent series here ► https://www.theguardian.com/cities/ng-interactive/2018/jan/08/made-in-stoke-on-trent-episode-1-we-have-lift-off

  • MONGOLS NOTORIOUS MC

    why open a pub? why not open a community hall and give the kid's a place to go.

  • I swear Sarah’s daughter is on the dengineers

  • Cheers for making them look like the scum of the earth Guardian, useless pricks.

  • Did her barber have a stroke

  • I live In stoke on Trent and honestly this is quiet an accurate representation of the majority of the area. But there is alot that isn't like that but you just sort of get used to it. Oh looks there's TinTin passed out maybe dead on the corner again someone go try wake him up. And we shouldn't have to deal with it the government needs to step up

  • You give a house to indians for a £1 they would built a comunity for a bargain, win/win 😉

  • Used to hang around there when i was younger. Its ok selling the council houses for a quid but theyve still got to live by smackheads in the private rented.

  • Not all people from Stoke are in Benifits and things like that . It’s how they are as a person that matters . All of the people are lovely and all of the people that go there agree .

    We love you Stoke xxx

    Lol

  • I live in Luton, and have been to the Stoke area twice on holiday. Yes, it's working class, but so am I, and the locals are lovely people, there are some really nice areas too. It's got good facilities, probably the best gym in the world in Strength Asylum, Hanley, Waterworld all the pottery museums. It is also close to the Peaks, one of Britain's most beautiful areas. It's 1st March 2019 as I write this and out of curiousity I looked up houses for sale in Portland Street, and they aren't £1 now, so perhaps things are improving.

  • I’d be able to take hold of that estete in under a week. Mamber users get a old school warning…. good crack and a warning not to come back

  • welcome to this my house

  • the people themselves have played a massive part in stoke on trents downfall.

  • Thats why I live in middleport

  • Is it me or does the narrator sound like Dan Bull?

  • As someone from Stoke-On-Trent it hurts because this isn’t what it’s like… its not all bad…

  • Purple Sunflower

    How sad ! Stoke used to thrive ! POTTERY ! Start a youth Club a community cafe! for everyone ! get the drugs worker in and lots of prayers its amazing when people get together and by pass a few politicians

  • Emma O’Donnell

    Guys don’t worry the north is not that bad I live in the north and I live in a beatiful vilłage

  • I hope it all works out for the community.

  • I recognise that sarah

  • Typical brexshit scum let them suffer, a bunch of chavs.

  • Louis Howlieson

    Don’t have enough money to pay my taxes but i’ll have a brand new puppy in my hands while i’m at home complaining about the fact I don’t have money. Not saying she doesn’t work a lot because there’s a chance that the day of this recording is her day off, but it seems to me that she’s complaining a lot and not working much

  • Abbahahaa hhasnah

    £1 for a haircut

  • 2:18 is she smuggling a wok?

  • Never been here but you will find that the majority of the people there are some of the kindest people in the world. I spent years living in one of the most deprived areas of Scotland and the people would honestly give you their last pound.

  • Quarry and wood explorers

    I live in stoke and when you listen to tv you sound like the other British people and when you here stoke people you sound so weird 😂😂😂 who agrees

  • What are they smoking that makes him go like that ?

  • Bring in immigrants. They have the energy to bring it back to life. There’s something special when everyone is poor

  • You need a contracting company that will renovate and restore these homes. Open a coffee shop, a Jamaican or Polish bakery, Italian restaurant and make it a place people want to live.

  • 'Im strong enough to live on the estate but my kids aren't'. Yeah coz you're a woman……theres a code, nothing would ever happen to you unless you lined someone up.

  • Decent people can't live alongside trash.

  • Ishmael Hussaini

    There is a community there which I go to

  • The Football Vloggers

    These have deffo done it on a cold Tuesday night in stoke

  • I see your Stoke on Trent, I raise you a Jaywick. Do I win?

  • We need to stop the cuts cut say don't work

  • I'd buy one for a quid.

  • Is this for real people don't have homes and this place is empty why arn t council giving homes to the less fortunate homeless and get some jobs going for them this is ridiculous convicts e.g. get them out should be behind bars not let poor moms with children see this rubbish get the government involved in starting a petition please support these people they deserve better in there homes and state bloody government letting this go under there noses pathetic all you hear is on media black white or brown why not concentrate on things like these it's upsetting pathetic councilers and government who can spend on racism and god know what I'm not racist I'm a muslim and I support these moms who are doing everything to stay in there home town this government needs to open it's eyes there spent money on things like making big buildings shopping malls why not spend on people who really it homeless or people who want to start job to feed there children in good clean environment not drunkuns and druggies theives and muggers put them out off aur cities towns put them behind bars so these mothers can live peacefully .😠

  • Can I have two for £1-50

  • I live in the area and it's not all as bad as this…we have community gardens and parks it's just where you live ..but Portland Street it very rough and I hated living round there

  • It's not the houses it's the the type of person that lives there!! I could make those houses look great. There's no tlc

  • Can you still buy these for a £1?

  • More like 50p a house , thank god i live in the south in a lovely house

  • Anna is a godsend if more people on that estate was like her they could build a great community.

  • Like Detroit.

  • Jess birmingham

    Should call the police on that fringe the posh woman's got, that's a crime on its own.

  • Rutland MGTOW man Uk

    Stoke on Trent ….. yuk no decent birds there, bomb the hole town and rename it Hampton on Avon ,

  • I fucked a girl down them ends, gave her a fiver for a taxi gome… now she owns half the street.

  • I want 10 houses please. Have you got change of £20?

  • Watching British TV series, never had the impression the UK would be like this.

  • Can't believe that woman thinks that she can fix everything with a bloody ceramics centre! Some people are just oblivious to the gravity of some situations! She walks around like a saint and shes there to help. When all she did was buy a housr for a £1 cause shes cheap

  • I also want 1 pound house😫😫😫😫😫😫

  • I wonder how they're getting on now

  • Stoke?? lol hahaha… waste of a quid..

  • looks like the toffs are moving there

  • They got screwed. It's Wogsville.

  • Jan Piwowarczyk

    More £1 homes project or even come back to the law to get for free abandoned ones.

  • Alessandro Aloisi

    I lived there for 2 years during my uni studies . A lot of burglary news on a daily basis and people collapse around the town like in this video . I hope they can fix this it really needs some support.

  • Pramila Ramsaroop

    Seems like the council dont care and left it to the people. Selling for 1 pound is good but there has to be more help from the council. Very SAD. Seems like pre war situation so are we long overdue for one another, i wonder!!!

  • Mateusz Sosnowicz

    I ll buy them please.

  • Stoke on Trent sounds posh to us foreigners

  • Every estate has a large fat woman with a big gob, she is part of the problem not the solution, her and her kids on benefits because anything else just seems like too much effort, their will be good people within spitting distance but they aren't allowed a voice.

  • Stoke on Trent looks terrible

  • They all seem like junkies n on benefits!!

  • Looks like the same thing that happened upstate New York

  • They had this initiative in Liverpool too. I half thought about applying for a house myself but like here, they were in a dodgy area. Plus you have to have a considerable amount of money to do it up in a short time and you don't know what defects you might come across. I don't know if you would be able to insure a delapidated house before it is liveable either. Although if you only paid a pound for it, it probably wouldn't matter lol.

  • “Benefit Street’s got nuffing on this” ahahaha

  • Atleast they live close to a cinema.

  • One pound for a house for n stoke!
    You were robbed!!

  • Yeah but we've got oatcakes

  • Daniel Duckington

    What a weird accent. A mix of Northern English and Midland English.

  • nicky29031977

    What about the original owners of those derelict houses?

  • The whole of Stoke is only worth 4 quid.

  • Maybe she should use the money saved to get a decent haircut

  • Christopher Cawley

    The reality is that these kind of places have been breeding grounds for personality disorders, mental health disorders, learning disabilities, foetal alcohol syndrome and other similar issues associated with alcoholism and drug abuse .
    The problem in terms of crime a drug abuse, is that the perpetrators have never learnt to take responsibility for themselves or each other. It starts at home, with child rearing. If you parent a child, on welfare, without planning or not in a committed relationship, or with realistic means of supporting the child, then you have started their life in a culture where responsibility for self and family is not of paramount importance. The child will be brought to feel like an unplanned mistake. This will result in deep set lack of self-esteem in the child. The child won't love & respect themselves. Instead they'll challenge others who show love respect to themselves and others.
    The middle class lady from Kent is taking acting with responsibility and love for her new community. I actually think she should be rewarded very highly for doing this.

  • Manipulated degradation of our country

  • Samuel Mushtaq

    Great!

  • A £1… One pound … I would expect change.. :0) 6:04 Like the accent.. Attempt to revive a community?

  • Lee Thistlethwaite

    Is nothing compared to quite a few areas in the mighty Boro

  • How can you be a part of the community if you paid a quid for your house and all the residents around you are struggling to live and are paying a rent for the same type of house?I think the local people need more than a bloody ceramics workshop!

  • Worldwide Wabbit

    This seems hopeless. The system has produced a rotten culture.

  • offwiththefairies77

    The loss of our pubs make me mad.

  • Lovely day chaps

    Oh,that accent …

  • ravenhill the myth of albion † 1968

    yikes.

  • ravenhill the myth of albion † 1968

    our british people need to be cared for, instead of bringing more migrants in.

  • £1, bit steep that, offer 75p…..

  • I have great admiration for the people who are striving to make it better for everyone.

    The same old story is the government can find the money for war but none for the poor. The magic money tree is the Bank of England, if people understood how usury is created from nothing making the Banksters extremely rich then we could have the much-needed revolution that is required to change the system completely.

  • looks like all the ladies are eating well!

  • Where is the part where they blame it on immigrants?

  • Shopaholic undisputed heavy weight champion

    I thought this was about homes being bought for £1 ?? Not benefit st the sequel !! So this area of Stoke needs more regeneration , just like many other areas in cities all over the UK !!

  • Robert Reynolds

    bit steep.

  • With a lot of love and determination there can always be change. I respect these wonderful families for not quitting and for standing their ground to make their community safe and welcoming for everyone. Blessings and well wishes to everyone that believes in basic kindness for each other.

  • Both New ‘Tory Light’ Labour and The Tory Party are as crooked as they come and even under Corbyn i will still not vote Labour until he gets rid of every last Blairite scumbag that remains.

  • I hate the Guardian and the "liberal" (not) culture that surrounds it, but I did like this piece!!!

  • old soul triangle

    anyone else wants to live in one of these houses with me, ?with CCTV cams, alarms, we can go joint for the two bed if you are on benefits, that's the way around it. once the area improves we can sell up and split the house money.50 50.

  • Monalisa Monalisa

    They are purposely making low-income areas like this so It will be easier for the government to round everybody up when Martial law sets In and FEMA Is put In place….. For you sheep who do not know what Martial law Is or FEMA, I suggest you start looking Into It Pronto!!!!

  • Ceramics lol just open the pub and let people have a beer.

  • netscape navigator

    Sounds corrupt. Some families lost your home because of inheritance tax and the bank sells it on for a quid! 🙈🙉🙊

  • I'd av wanted change out of me £1 YNWA

  • This place is disgust
    I live there 😁😁😁😁smh

  • A couple of dedicated full time police officers for the estate based in one of those derilict houses would help turn that estate round.

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