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New hub for creative social enterprises looking for occupants

For organisations who put social impact above generating a profit, finding secure affordable premises in the city of Oxford can be a serious, and sometimes insurmountable, challenge. This issue is particularly acute for organisations that require workshop or warehouse space for teaching, making, or construction.

…enter Makespace Oxford – an umbrella organisation set up by the directors and coordinators of several local social enterprises and charities to represent our sector and meet our growing need to access such space. Makespace Oxford will use the ability of social enterprises and charities to put vacant space to use for social benefit in Oxford and beyond. Makespace Oxford is a collaboration between Transition by Design, Aspire Oxford, Broken Spoke Bike Coop and the Community Action Group Project who together make up the community interest company (CIC) board of directors. Andy Edwards, Director and Co-founder of Transition by Design and a Founding Director of Makespace Oxford said;

“In starting Transition by Design, one of our biggest struggles was affordable space. As I worried about rent I looked around and saw many other community organisations, big and small, established and embryonic struggling with just the same thing – affordable space in which to make, create, meet, think and do.”“So a group of us came together to do something about the strangulation of social impact and community development by market rents. Makespace will nurture existing groups, projects and enterprises as well as hopefully sparking new ideas, partnerships and innovation.”

We are excited to announce that Makespace Oxford has signed a meanwhile lease for 2-3 years with Wadham College on Aristotle House, a building awaiting development on Aristotle Lane in North Oxford. Makespace will transform the two-story building into a hub for social and creative organisations with: workshop space; office and co-working space; meeting and events space; retail space; and a community café/kitchen. Makespace Oxford intends to provide low-cost and subsidised rent with variable bands based on occupant organisations’ turnover and type of activity. 

Aristotle House, the new Makespace building, viewed from the canal.

Makespace Oxford is now looking for organisations to become the anchor occupants, particularly those working for social benefit, with a creative or practical aspect to their work. Makespace welcome applications from organisations of all sizes, incorporated and unincorporated – the aim is to incubate new organisations as well as strengthen established ones.

To apply, read the Prospectus and Tenancy Criteria, and complete this form. If you have any questions you can get in touch by email – or visit The deadline for the first round applications is Sunday 25th February 2018

There will be an ‘open house’ event for prospective tenants to view the building on Wednesday 21 February from 2-5pm. Please also drop the organisers a message at if you’re planning on going. 

Please spread the word and help Makespace Oxford find the perfect occupants for this amazing new space. 

The Aristotle House project is part of Makespace Oxford’s bigger vision to make use of vacant space within Oxford for social benefit. We believe that through co-habitation and collaboration, we can strengthen Oxford’s vibrant social sector. 

Aristotle House Make Space 2

Aristotle House is a two-story office building bordering the canal on Aristotle Lane in North Oxford. It was used by Oxford University Press in the past and is scheduled for redevelopment by its owners Wadham College. Wadham College Finance Bursar Peter Alsop said;

“Wadham College is delighted to welcome Makespace Oxford as its new tenant for Aristotle House on Hayfield Road.”“Over the last year, Wadham College has listened to comments from neighbours regarding its plans to redevelop Aristotle House with a new building comprising offices, four houses and two apartments. We have heard wide support for the concepts, architecture and appearance of the planned redevelopment, but also concerns about potential traffic and care for the trees along Hayfield Road Road. The College is very happy with the approved design, however we have delayed progressing the redevelopment while thinking about the wider context of the building, its purpose and its value proposition. We do not want to leave the building unused, and have agreed a tenancy with Makespace Oxford under which they will manage and make the building available to variety of social enterprises, charities and other small businesses. Wadham believes the activities will make a very positive contribution to the local community.”

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