3Space Croydon: One year on

By - Wednesday 1st July, 2015

As the 3Space Hub in Southern House holds its first birthday party this week, their project manager Lucinda Stewart looks back on a year of providing free workspace to other charities, non-profit organisations and start-ups in Croydon

Since opening, more than 50 organisations have used the space.
Photo author’s own.

We were really excited about opening a work space in Croydon. We were even more excited when we found that Croydon had (and still has) a passionate and engaging local community. There were already networks of non-profit organisations and start-ups in the area. There were also some excellent workspaces in and around the centre. Through getting to know the local area, and the community there, we found that there were many non-profit organisations and start-ups who were not yet ready to pay for desk space, and looking for the next step. This is where we were able to bridge the gap.

3Space is a charity which works in partnership with property holders to make otherwise under-utilised commercial space available free of charge for a limited period of time. It’s available for use by registered charities, non-profit organisations and early-stage start-ups. Working in partnership with the Cabinet Office’s Space for Growth Scheme, our hub in Southern House is a huge open-planned office that was previously standing empty. A lot of the organisations were working from home or from coffee shops prior to using the space. In providing the hub, it has enabled our users to have a relaxed and friendly workspace to run their organisations from. It has also enabled them to grow, take on more staff, and try out new ideas, which can sometimes be tough in the early stages of any business.

“The space has allowed us to smoothly transition from a voluntary team to a paid, full-time team, creating opportunities for us to be more effective as an organisation… For a new charity such as ours, the space has been crucial to allow us to progress.” – Michael Glendinning, Executive Director – European Alliance for Human Rights in North Korea 

Over the past year, a lovely community of the hub users has grown, and they are possibly some of the friendliest people I’ve met. They are always happy to share advice or help other users of the space, whilst also running some really innovative organisations and businesses. Often, users find the variety of backgrounds mean there’s usually someone who can help tackle a challenge (or have an interesting chat over a cup of tea in the kitchen).

“It’s a friendly environment that really encourages interaction between all the residents to form a mutually beneficial scenario where you make new friends and network” – Sibel Suleyman from Speshh

Just some of the users of 3Space Croydon.
Photo author’s own.

Since we’ve been here, we’ve had more than 55 organisations use the space and over 8,000 people walk through our doors to work, create and innovate. That’s a lot of hot-desking, meetings, workshops, events, theatre rehearsals, and the odd ping-pong tournament every now and then of course!

This year also marks the charity’s 5th birthday, having had over 45 properties across the UK. We’ll be having a birthday party to celebrate both this and our 1st anniversary in Croydon on Thursday 2nd July 6pm-9pm. Anyone interested in finding out a bit more about what we do, and the space available in Croydon are welcome to come along and say hi! If you’d like to join us, please make sure you sign up to our guest list to get in via our Eventbrite page.

Lucinda Stewart

Lucinda Stewart

Lucinda is a project manager for 3Space's Croydon hub - a charity which takes under-utilised commercial space and lets other charities, non-profit organisations and start-ups use the space for free. Although only in Croydon for just over a year now in the, she would say she is a complete Croydon convert, & loves having a wander and getting to know the locals.

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