Innovation That Matters

Charities temporarily occupy vacant commercial property

Nonprofit & Social Cause

UK-based 3Space aims to make it easier for charities to occupy vacant properties while landlords look for commercial tenants.

Pop-up spaces have graced our virtual pages many times in the past, and now we’ve come across a service which could pave the way for even more charity-based pop-ups. UK-based 3Space is a charity that helps other charities and social organizations make temporary use of empty commercial properties. Many charities find it difficult to secure individual properties for a short period of time, with landlords preferring to make their spaces available on long-term contracts or reluctant to make individual properties available. By acting as an intermediary 3Space hopes to change this. In the charity’s own words, “For the landlord, all the risk and the time taken to find users and negotiate deals on an individual basis is taken away.” What’s more, 3Space can offer landlords savings across their whole vacant portfolio. Once a vacant property has been secured from a landlord, 3Space then advertises it to charities through their website and through posters, by contacting the local council, and by contacting their database of charities from previous projects. Charities choosing to occupy the vacant spaces no longer have to deal with the landlord; rather they sign a simplified agreement once their application has been approved. As 3Space co-founder Andrew Cribb explains: “We market the properties, find users and take care of all the legal and management processes. It’s completely free for the charity, and we save the landlord 50 percent on rates contributions.” Charity projects in 3Space properties have included hosting the University of Glamorgan’s The Big Empty Shop Experiment, filming a mental health TV commercial, and FoodCycle’s pop-up restaurant in an unused office space in north-east London using food that would otherwise have gone to waste. Public interest in pop-up shops and campaigns remains high, and temporary use is perfectly suited to charities and community groups — allowing organizations to reach new audiences with minimal financial commitments. One to replicate in empty properties near you?



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