Following some low-key test events across the preceding four months, and after fine-tuning and applying finishing touches, the Pop Recs Venue + Coffee Shop officially opened in November 2021. Since its opening, there have been many visits and events — as part of a Heritage Action Zone meeting; a Historic England event, for example — to see the wonderful results of the adaptive heritage reuse and community-based process and to share its success.
Midnight Pizza Cru joining Pop Recs was announced in October. The Cru will lead on catering at the coffee shop and at Pop Recs venue events. The first event was held in late November and sold out almost immediately. Other connective and community-based events have included: a real living wage event led by Sunderland City Council; a We Make Culture event; and a fundraiser for Pop Recs Teenage Market, an event in partnership with Washington Mind. All of these activities build upon the community engagement initiatives already undertaken earlier in the project and strengthen the independent operation of the buildings moving forward.