Boosting social enterprise

13th February 2017

News, Student news

A Wadham-owned building in central Oxford is to be put to community use while it awaits redevelopment.

Wadham College has signed a lease with Makespace Oxford to enable Aristotle House in Hayfield Road, Jericho to be used as a new social enterprise hub in Oxford.

Makespace is an umbrella organisation, established by the award-winning employment charity and social enterprise, Aspire Oxford; and it aims to represent and meet the growing needs of local social enterprises, workers’ co-operatives and charities operating in Oxford. Makespace will be organising the use of the building to provide affordable, secure workshop space, small office units and retail space.

A number of tenants are planning to use the office and hot–desking, meeting and event space. These include:

  • Transition by Design, an architecture and strategic design Worker’s Co-operative and Community Interest Company (CIC) which specialises in participatory, low carbon design;
  • Broken Spoke, a not-for-profit co-operative whose mission is to create a healthier, happier and more sustainable community by teaching people from all backgrounds how to ride and repair bicycles; and
  • The Community Action Group Project Oxfordshire which consists of over 60 voluntary groups and social enterprises across Oxfordshire, at the forefront of community led climate change action, organising events and projects to take action on issues including waste, transport, food, energy, biodiversity and social justice.
  • Aspire Oxford may also relocate some of their activities to Aristotle House.

The building will also provide retail space for Broken Spoke and workshop tenants, community groups and local food producers. A community café plans to offer meals created from surplus food, cooking skills development and catering social enterprise, run by the Oxford Food Surplus Café or Waste2Taste. These activities hope to complement existing enterprises – the local Deli, a car workshop, and the Anchor Pub, to the benefit of the local community.

Wadham College Finance Bursar, Peter Alsop, commented: “Aristotle House a great site, but with a tired building that we will redevelop in due course.  We’ve been looking for the right partners who will use the space to make a really positive community contribution. Makespace has so many ideas about how to make a difference, and Wadham is delighted to give them the opportunity to do so. I’m hopeful it will be a great success.” 

Andy Edwards, Director and Co-founder of Transition by Design and a Founding Director of Makespace Oxford said: “Makespace sets an exciting precedent for what’s possible when a college, the council and a community work together.” 

Makespace will be attending and encouraging neighbourhood meetings to help engage local residents and explain the project further.