This week Shoreditch Works, the co-working business I co-founded, launched a Kickstarter crowd-funding project to help raise funds for the fit out on a building we plan to turn into an amazing events and workspace. We’re pitching the idea of creating a “village hall” for local organisations – 20% of the time in the event space will be free for use by community projects. Here is an earlier post about why I got involved – Investment in Place and People.
You might ask “why does Shoreditch need a village hall, when its already got a town hall?”
Great question but as far as I am concerned the answer is pretty simple. Just after the London riots Benjamin Southworth and I wanted to create an organisation dedicated to bringing local London kids into the thriving Shoreditch tech economy (that organisation has now been folded into Shoreditch Works as our social Foundation, while Benjamin has gone on to make a direct impact on startups as deputy CEO of Tech City.)
At the time I wanted to hold a town hall meeting to see what interest the tech community had in helping build skills and aspirations for local youth, so naturally I called Shoreditch Town Hall to ask if we could use one of their rooms. The answer stunned me. We were refused on the grounds the Town Hall is itself a charity, and therefore would never do anything for free. I was pretty shocked, and a bit angry to be honest.
We need a space that can respond to community needs, and that’s why we want to establish a “village hall” for Shoreditch. The response has been tremendous so far- people pledged more than £7k in the first 15 hours. We’d love your help too. Please back this project.
Why are we fundraising?
Shoreditch Works has a mission to help young companies get started and grow. We are a part of the Shoreditch village and want to create a focal point for that community.
The space we need your help to secure, as you’ve seen in the video, is stretched across four floors of an unloved 1950s warehouse. It’s been sitting empty for months now and we’re sick of seeing such fantastic potential go to waste.
The basement and ground floor will be the epicentre of our village hall, while the top two floors will be shared workspace for startups.
How does this help the community?
It’s simple. We’re going to build an events space that will comfortably hold 200 people seated. And we are giving 20% of slots for free to community groups that are important but don’t necessarily have the cash to hire a big events space. A space where kids can come and code after school, where artists can present their work, where local meetups can take place and where our coworkers can meet and discuss their issues.