Jobs at the Long Table food hub are at stake as the social enterprise struggles to find a new home before demolition crews move on Brimscombe Port.

They have made unsuccessful offers on five different buildings in the last three years and are in negotiations with Brimscombe Mills, but the site would not be suitable for several months.

Stroud District Council are pushing ahead with a proposed £2.9m development of the port, starting in October.

“It’s been massively frustrating for us over the last three years to not have been able to secure somewhere - and the council have been supportive in helping us to find places and to move,” said founder Tom Herbert.

“They want us out already and the challenge we have is the place we are hoping to move into is still several months off being ready. So we’re in a bit of a spot," 

“There’s real anxiety because until we can say ‘yes we’ve definitely got somewhere to move to’ it threatens the security of people’s jobs and that’s really harsh.”

Around 45 people are employed by the Grace Network, which runs the Long Table and has been based in the port for the last seven years.

“We just want to continue trading so we can keep paying for the team.”

Mr Herbert continued: “We’re not going to pretend we’ve got it sorted when we don’t – we value trust and honesty too much.”

“We’re in negotiations to lease Brimscombe Mills but they’re completely derelict, there’s bats in there and people rough sleeping.”

Mr Herbert called for more time at the port given a developer has not yet been found for the site.

“All we’re asking for is please, everyone has suffered with Covid and the setbacks of that, is it not reasonable to let us stay there a bit longer while we sort out where we can move to.”

Stroud District Council Leader Doina Cornell said: “Stroud District Council’s vision for Brimscombe Port is something that we want the local community and the whole district to be proud of. The council and the local community have been working on this for many years, and it is now reaching a critical stage.

“At the same time, we have been privileged to see how the current tenants have used their time at the port. The Grace Network, Rush and other organisations on the site have become valued local organisations.

“We now reach a stage of our project where current tenancies have to end, in order for vital work to continue this project. If it doesn’t continue to progress, the council and community are both in danger of losing the funding and even the site. The council want this site to be something the local community treasure for many years to come and we are working carefully to ensure that it is an exciting, community-centred project.”