Community groups, small charities, workers coops and social enterprises in Oxford will now have a truly affordable space to work and grow thanks to funding from Oxfordshire Community Foundation’s Step Change Fund, the Old Bakehouse Trust and the Sankalpa Trust.

We’re over the moon to announce that funding has been granted to continue the work we are doing with Aspire Oxford, the Community Action Group and Broken Spoke Bike Coop to bring truly affordable community working and making space to Oxford.

The funding of £90,000 will cover the fit-out of the building and the core running costs for the two-year pilot phase of the Makespace Oxford Project. The intention is then to develop a self-sustaining business model, including a small surplus to develop new premises in a model that seeks to leverage Oxford’s empty and under-used space for community benefit and raise awareness of new and creative uses for urban space.

We’d like to thank the Oxford Community Foundation’s Step Change Fund, the Old Bakehouse Trust, the Sankalpa Trust and Wadham College for seeing the potential in Makespace Oxford and contributing their valuable expertise and resources.

“We are delighted to be able to provide support from the Step Change Fund for Makespace Oxford to pilot their community space idea. The funding application made a great case for the benefit to the whole community in making creative and productive use of an empty building.” said Colin Alexander, co-founder of Oxfordshire Community Foundation’s Step Change Fund. “We also hope that this project will be a proof of concept, showing that empty spaces generally can be put to positive use and that the idea is sustainable, with detailed plans in place for incubating and growing the idea of cross-community collaboration beyond the use of the Aristotle Lane site.”

The opening of Makespace Oxford will also mean a change of office for Transition by Design as we move into the new building in March. We’ve been getting to know the local area and are looking forward to joining a new community and getting invoved in the local area.

“This is an excellent use for a building which has been empty. Local residents are pleased that the building will be let to social enterprise groups and managed by Makespace over the next 2/3 years.” said Liz Wade, St Margarets Ward Councillor said. “It is reassuring to know that Wadham and Makespace are concerned to get things right with neighbours, for example through managing delivery times at a busy junction will be a priority. The community wishes Makespace every success.”

The this first space on Aristotle Lane, Makespace Oxford will be able to accommodate at least a dozen organisation with the hope that many more will benefit from the space through room hire for workshops, events, meetings and support.

Makespace Oxford will be home to a community events space, meeting rooms, an edible garden, a community café and a making and workshop space. It will be home to community organisations spanning arts & culture, food, architecture and design, small-scale manufacturing and campaigning. Makespace Oxford will actively seek to involve marginalised and vulnerable communities through training, workshops, a community café and employment opportunities.

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Makespace Oxford is actively looking for community groups and social enterprises with a social or environmental benefit to their work who would like to co-locate in the building. They are offering affordable and subsidised rent and the first round of applications are open until 25th February. Interested groups should contact [email protected] or visit fb.com/MakespaceOxford. There will be an ‘open house’ event for prospective tenants to view the building on Wednesday 21 February from 2-5pm, interested parties should email [email protected].

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