Generating creativity and enterprise from empty spaces and places, the Meanwhile Project worked in 2009-10 with landlords, agents, potential occupiers and local authorities to enable uses that benefit the community while something else is waiting to happen.
“Curtsey while you’re thinking what to say, it saves time” – Alice Through the Looking Glass
Meanwhile is a philosophy, a policy and a programme of work.
As a programme of work, the Meanwhile Project ran from 2009-10 and provided practical and financial support for a wide range of meanwhile approaches to 24 projects in 17 towns throughout the country, as well as technical advice, manuals and common tools to help anyone who wants to do something positive in the meanwhile.
The Meanwhile Project was delivered by the Development Trusts Association (nowLocality), in partnership with Meanwhile Space, as part of its wider Advancing Assets for Communities programme supported by the department for Communities and Local Government (CLG). The programme ran from 2009-2010 and although many of the projects, tools and networks continue to grow and thrive, the programme is no longer able to provide financial support and direct guidance. Visit Meanwhile Space to find out more about current meanwhile activity and how to get involved.
As a philosophy Meanwhile is based on the belief that empty properties spoil town centres, destroy economic and social value, and waste resources that we cannot afford to leave idle. Vibrant interim uses led by local communities will benefit existing shops, as well as the wider town centre, through increased footfall, bringing life back to the high street and making better use of resources overall.
As a policy Meanwhile was a key aspect of the Government’s 'Looking after our town centres' document, launched on 14 April 2009 including the empty shops revival plan to prevent high street decline. It continues to be part of CLG’s broader Community Finance proposals, included in CLG/DEFRA policy on making land available for community growing, and it also featured in the Strategy for Seaside Success.
Development Trusts Association
The Development Trusts Association is leading the Meanwhile Project as part of its wider Advancing Assets for Communities programme supported by the department for Communities and Local Government (CLG)
The Development Trusts Association is the leading network of community enterprise practitioners dedicated to helping people set up development trusts and helping existing development trusts learn from each other and work effectively. Development trusts are community owned and led, enterprising and independent organisations that develop community assets and aim to transform communities for good.
Our members own over £565m of assets and we have always had a strong interest in the long term community ownership of assets. We lead the Advancing Assets for Communities programme to support local authorities and their community partners to work on fair and effective asset transfers. Our members have often used meanwhile approaches to test out their ideas as part of project development. Now the Meanwhile project helps many more organisations to take this approach.
WHO ARE MEANWHILE SPACE?
Meanwhile Space are a CIC set up in 2009 to enable community uses of vacant property and sites. We work to find and reveal meanwhile opportunities and collaborate with stakeholders to deliver these goals. We often work at a high end on collective strategies across councils or at a place-based level on specific interventions as well as at ground level to create and maintain networks. Put simply, we advise on the processes of meanwhile activity and can either deliver projects or work with others to do so.
Meanwhile Space works with landlords, landowners, developers and local authorities to relieve them temporarily of liabilities (insurance, rates, security etc.) associated with holding redundant shops, offices, cleared land etc. whilst an appropriate commercial solution is being sought. By working with local communities and other stakeholders, interim or 'Meanwhile,' uses are deployed to reanimate the space and provide opportunities for community benefit and social enterprise.
The CIC is the delivery arm of the Meanwhile Project. The aim of the project is to boost community uses of empty properties in town centres. The project is led by the Development Trusts Association on behalf Communities and Local Government. The project has built a 'library' of ideas and information as a resource to make it easier for both the landlord and the project sides to realise Meanwhile opportunities, including the Meanwhile Manual, Lease and Insurance policies.
For more information visit www.meanwhilespace.com