Being administered by Oxford City Council and run in partnership with social enterprise Makespace, the ‘Meanwhile in Oxfordshire’ project will launch a £1.90 million revitalisation of vacant property across Oxfordshire and bounce back from the pandemic during 2021.
The Meanwhile in Oxfordshire project will see vacant units in high streets across the county transformed into independent shops, cultural venues, creative studios, and co-working space. The aim is to provide affordable premises to accommodate more than 100 organisations, which will create or secure at least 300 jobs across Oxfordshire.
Makespace Oxford has formed a consortium to help run the project and has appointed Wild Property Consultancy as one of the specialist organisations. Wild Property will provide additional expertise and knowledge across the county as part of the role.
Commenting on the appointment, Neil Wild said: “The Meanwhile in Oxfordshire project offers a welcomed boost for our towns across the county as well as for Oxford city centre - supporting the businesses and communities they serve. It is a privilege to have been selected to support this exciting and much needed initiative and I am looking forward to being part of this combined effort to help secure the future of our high streets.”
Other partners of the Meanwhile in Oxfordshire partnership include, Transition by Design, Soha Housing, Fusion Arts, Aspire Oxfordshire and Independent Oxford, alongside national experts in this field, Meanwhile Space CIC. These organisations will seek to build partnerships with property owners – then to renovate, fit out and organise occupancy of dozens of vacant units, including in each of Oxfordshire’s districts, during 2021.
Makespace has previously transformed vacant buildings across Oxfordshire into business and community space, including the Makespace Oxford workspace in Aristotle Lane and Open House in Little Clarendon Street. Wild Property have led similar initiatives in Oxfordshire’s town centres including in Banbury.
The City Council, Oxfordshire’s district councils and OxLEP will also work with the partnership to find properties and tenants. One of the aims of the project team is to work closely with residents and businesses to ensure new tenants of each unit reflect, represent, and meet the needs of the area.
The partnership led by Makespace will let all the units during 2021 and will then provide a range of business support so they can thrive over the following years.
Oxfordshire’s district councils working on the project alongside the City Council are Cherwell, South Oxfordshire, Vale of White Horse and West Oxfordshire. The City Council, which developed the project on behalf of Oxfordshire’s other district councils, worked with the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP) to make it happen, with OxLEP securing the £1.90 m of funding from the Government’s Getting Building Fund. The Getting Building Fund has provided £900 m to LEPs and mayors across the country to accelerate the UK’s economic revival from Covid-19 through the delivery of capital projects. The funding is part of the Government’s Getting Building Fund, which provided £900m to LEPs and mayors across the country to accelerate the UK’s economic revival from Covid-19 through the delivery of capital projects.