About Us

ReSpace Projects is a not-for-profit organisation aiming to create a collaborative network of enabled communities based on a sustainable, self-funding, replicable model called Holistic Urban Regeneration.

This requires us to:
  • Find and release hidden or wasted resources for re-use or recycling.
  • Create a flexible and fair system of distribution.
  • Ensure that these resources are used for the purposes of social good.
The Holistic Urban Regeneration system takes unused spaces, wasted resources and spare time to build, train and enable communities to tackle local problems.
There are 80,000 empty buildings and tons of building materials or food waste daily in London alone. We highlight what benefit that could bring to the communities who need it most.

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Introduction

Based in London, our aim is to help grow a society that is more collaborative, ethical, self-reliant and environmentally responsible. Our extensive network includes architects, urban planners, environmentalists, academics, community groups and policy makers: We believe that by working together we can create a more sustainable future – one that supports communities and has a more integrated approach to development, a system we call ‘holistic urban regeneration‘.

 

To achieve this we’re working to encourage communities, councils and landlords to co-operate and share wasted resources such as buildings, food and skills. In order to fill gaps in our society caused by  cuts, old habits and poor planning.
 
We first set up a showcase building, the Hive Dalston, to prove that the model could work – a model that relies on volunteers and recycled resources to provide accessible, affordable space to the local community.

 

The Hive Dalston was a disused office block, which sat empty for eight years. With permission from the owner, a local developer, we opened to the public in two weeks  – on about £250 – with a rent-free lease for 6 months and a remit to create a positive impact on the community.
 
Over a year later we’ve seen around seven thousand people come through the doors. We liaised with local resource providers who were only too happy to donate their wasted resources to the projects, enabling us to improve the space and continue to facilitate up to seven events a day. We’ve since been the focus of a BBC Radio 4 documentary, A Waste Of Space, as well as several news articles.
Watch our short video, Welcome to The Hive

We have attempted to make a truly inclusive and collaborative environment that spans all sectors of society and all levels of engagement… from running homelessness fundraisers and soup kitchens to regular international aid events helping people from the Amazon jungles to the Mountains of Tibet. We’ve hosted the Dalai Lama‘s monks and fire performers from Berlin, Korean social entrepreneurs, senior managers from Grant Thornton and even had the leader of the Green Party, Natalie Bennett, join our chain gang to help the refugees in Calais.
 
We’ve held political events and functions for mainstream politics like the Labour Party, the Green Party, the Liberal Democrats, the Conservatives and even George Galloway and Respect – side by side with national conferences for Reclaim the Power and Radical Housing Network as well as being a regular base for various political /environmental campaigns.
We have bookings from all over the world and regularly host guest speakers from other countries.
Our venue and concept mixes all kinds of events and all kinds of people into a melting pot of activity and creativity.
We hold exhibitions from bedroom artists and established names, screen films and have been a location for a number of short movies and videos. We even run a donations based cafe and are developing a reputation for good quality, healthy, cheap food – and this is just the beginning.

 

All of this out of an empty office block and and couple of hundred pounds!

 

We’re currently working to develop the necessary infrastructure required to make best use of such wasted resources and to help London transition into a circular economy.
In practical terms this means opening ‘hive hubs’, i.e. support buildings that can store materials such as wood, furniture and white goods. These buildings will supply their local projects, who in turn will make their own supply deals with resource providers, that can be fed back into the system and transported to a project to which they’re best suited.
Hive Hubs will also be centres for skill sharing, with workshops designated for fixing broken items, from bikes to electrical goods and permaculture gardens to teach and grow food.

 

To build the necessary network to enable this system to be shared easily, we’re compiling the The Infrastructure Directory, which is essentially a free catalogue of individuals and organisations who can contribute to this infrastructure, whether as resource or service providers, or volunteers.

 

Get in touch if you would like more information or to get involved!

 

The ReSpace Team x

Company

By unanimous vote of the 6 serving Directors it has been decided that ReSpace Projects will no longer be a Company Limited by Guarantee and is changing to a Community Benefit Society.

It was felt that neither a company (which is designed to benefit its owners) nor a co-operative (which is designed to benefit its members) were correct for the aims of ReSpace which is designed to benefit society.


ReSpace Projects started out as a not-for-profit, Company Limited by Guarantee,  in 2015, with an initial board of 3 directors. We ran the Hive Dalston as our pilot project, to prove that empty buildings, wasted resources and volunteer energy could create and facilitate spaces that brought together communities and had potential to enable and empower people. The Hive’s initial rent-free lease was for 7 months, although the project has now been going 2 years. We recruited 4 more directors to the board, for their skills, experience and knowledge, and have done our best to keep the ball rolling. All ReSpace Directors and volunteers are unpaid.

Having just submitted our accounts to Companies House, we’ve been taking some time to get our affairs in order. We were delayed for a time by internal difficulties within the board, and sadly had to request by unanimous vote that one of the directors resign to allow the company to operate with good governance and stability.

ReSpace Projects prides itself on being an ethical organisation. We are not perfect, but we do try and practice what we preach: We’ve finally chosen to bank with Triodos because they seem to be the only bank that is actively investing in renewable energies.

Our projects cover costs by charging a small amount for events the buildings facilitate. With this money we pay our bills, and put money aside for when we need to spend £5k on a fire system, or pay for repairs. 

We believe that the skills, time and effort from our fantastic network of volunteers, combined with the more efficient use of wasted resources such as empty buildings, can help empower social and environmental projects throughout the city of London. We are currently trying to scale up our model of Holistic Urban Regeneration.

For further information about ReSpace Projects please visit our companies house page.

Company number 09551470

https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/09551470

People

Board of Directors

 

Gee

Having worked in the business world of media marketing, advertising and design – as well as a significant stint as one of BT’s top sales managers – due to a family tragedy, Gee fell into depression and ended up living in a squat (the 491 Gallery) – which he credits as having saved his life. There he learned basic skills like electrics, carpentry, plumbing and building and saw its potential to help other people. In 2013, when the Gallery closed, Gee resolved to create a system that opened hundreds of similar buildings for everyone and began the road to creating ReSpace. 

David (Ned)

Ned’s background has crossed over between working in two very different housing co-ops in Brighton in the mid 1980s until early 1990s, and a short-life housing co-op in London in 2000-2005 – in between working in the night club industry and latterly, community centre venues and garden centres in and around London. Ned brings a wealth of experience and huge network of contacts to ReSpace – and his energy and knowledge of operations and facilities have been of huge benefit to the Hive, of which he is now a joint director.

Joanna (Azja)

Joanna is RIBA Part 2 ArchitecturalDesigner with MArchD in International Architecture and Regeneration from Oxford Brookes University. She spent 5 years working in architectural studios delivering residential and commercial projects, often in conservation and listed buildings. As a ReSpace Co-Founder she strives to improve the connections with councils, planning departments, developers and communities by building stronger platforms of delivery for the social and environmental good. With a Diploma in Product Design and History of Art she has always been fascinated by the underground culture of the city, the urban jungle. Thus, in 2011, she co-founded The Suspenses, a platform for emerging underprivileged creatives, bridging social exclusion through performance and art. This led to setting up the Hive, in 2015, which she is currently managing.

Fleur

Fleur is a freelance writer and film-maker, with a 1st in Applied Linguistics. She now specialises in environmental and social justice, urban regeneration, mental health, resource management and ‘smart’ cities. To help improve our environmental credentials and organisational capacity, she is currently reading an MA in Energy and Environmental Change at Westminster University. Fleur works on the ReSpace Projects strategy, outreach and communications, and is filming for a documentary, Get Rich Or Try Sharing. In her spare time, she gives talks about animal rights on behalf of the charity Animal Aid, and skate boards as much as possible.

Brian

Brian is an anti-capitalist business adviser.  He has advised social enterprises, co-operative and community businesses for the past 20 years, particularly focusing on helping communities find the most appropriate organisational structure for their proposed business. He is the Social Enterprise Development Manager at Hackney Co-operative Developments, which engages in community economic development and is a sheltered workspace provider in Hackney.  Brian’s hobbies are cycling, writing poetry, eating good food, drinking good tea and errrr …. supporting social enterprises!

Wilfried

Wilfried grew up in Switzerland and moved to London in 1982 quitting a job as one of the youngest editors of Switzerland’s largest daily newspaper. He took a job as Foreign Correspondent for Ringier in London, produced radio and TV programs for German and Swiss TV. He is probably best known as founder of Metalhammer Magazine, Telecom pioneer and MTV Europe. He is an experienced third sector board member including NFTMO, LTF and LFHC. He is a consultant with Chelsea College of Arts and member of the University of the Arts London Sustainability Workgroup. He is the founder of MillbankCreativeWorks, an award-winning, creative community conduit based in Westminster.