Meanwhile Space CIC is the pioneering social enterprise at the forefront of ‘meanwhile uses’. As the market leader in Meanwhile uses since 2009, Meanwhile Space designs innovative Meanwhile® solutions to vacant commercial space, working across sectors to deliver Meanwhile projects and strategies, operate affordable workspace, and deliver longer term Meanwhile developments. The company first defined the term as the ‘intelligent use of unproductive empty buildings and underused land’ and outlined the benefits to communities, landlords and occupants as deliverers of the 2009-10 central government Meanwhile Project.
Meanwhile Space’s approach to community engagement and local regeneration projects involves nurturing a sense of place and distinctiveness through the harnessing of the resource of vacant commercial property. As proven by our network of 11,000 members of our forum, newsletter and social media, there is significant demand for highly visible, low cost, low risk space that allows the ‘opportunity of failure’ for brand new businesses and ideas, which can then grow and feed in to the existing workspace offer.
By 2015, Meanwhile Space had supported 511 people into our spaces, and created 170 jobs in predominantly deprived town centre neighbourhoods. These ranged from Craigavon (NI) to Hastings, Luton and London (Wembley, Willesden, Kilburn, Sutton, Loughborough Junction, Hillingdon, Camden, Hoxton, Whitechapel, Exmouth Market, Walthamstow and Finchley). Of the enterprises supported, 80% were started by unemployed or underemployed people creating their own jobs from their passions, hobbies or interests. The company has occupied 44 properties, saving landlords over £685,000 in empty property rates, meaning our risk management offer to landlords is unparalleled by other Meanwhile organisations. With clients in 37 national local authorities, as well as real estate, construction, Central Government and the creative industries Meanwhile Space has bought more than 100,000 ft2 vacant property into use for economic development and placemaking purposes.
Our work was highlighted in The Portas High Street Review as a way to help make town centres more vibrant places and has won several prestigious awards, including Luton’s Best Community Award (2009), a Regeneration & Renewal Boosting High Street Vitality Award (2012), runner up in 2013’s SE100 Growth Award, a finalist in DCLG’s Great British High Street Award (2014) and shortlisted for SEUK’s Consumer Facing Award (2015). Our projects have featured extensively in the media, including the BBC, Guardian, Evening Standard, Time Out and Sunday Times