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Barnsbury co-working space closes

PUBLISHED: 11:50 23 November 2018 | UPDATED: 15:08 06 December 2018

King's Cross Small Works is closing. Picture: Ana Clara Paniago

King's Cross Small Works is closing. Picture: Ana Clara Paniago

Archant

A co-working space in Barnsbury where social enterprises hosted community projects has closed.

The building will still be used for business purposes, Peabody said. Picture: Ana Clara PaniagoThe building will still be used for business purposes, Peabody said. Picture: Ana Clara Paniago

King’s Cross Small Works, part of Clear Village, has been in The Old Laundry – on Peabody housing association’s Priory Green Estate – since 2014 but closed last week.

The space has been used to host charities and social enterprises during the day, with prices as low as £25 per desk per week.

In return for the cheap rent, bosses ask for a contribution to the local community such as projects or activities– which some have been accused of ignoring.

Ashley Richardson, enterprise and innovation leader at Peabody, stated the reason for the closure was the realisation that “the model does not match the needs in the area anymore.”

She continued: “A lot of businesses outgrow the space and move out. Our residents are then left with no projects.”

Clear Village project director Robin Houterman said a new tenant is set to move in and bring “new opportunities” to the area.

Robin added: “We are grateful for the collaboration with Peabody in pursuing our shared vision on the value of social enterprise for communities, which has been shown by the project

“We are proud of what we have achieved for the local community, in collaboration with the social enterprises working from the space.”

But Sue Blake, who was community manager of Clear Village while the space was running, suggested some members weren’t fulfilling their obligations.

“I have seen some of the social enterprises who should have pulled their weight a little bit more and should have done more for the community,” she said.

“Some could also have afforded to go somewhere else, and they should have made way for smaller enterprises.”

One of the charities affected by the closure is The Orchard Project, which creates and restores community orchards around the country.

Neil Kingsnorth, the CEO, is disappointed with the move, as it was “nice to have the community of other charities and social enterprises to work with.”

The Orchard Project is the only charity left in Small Works Kings Cross, and will relocate to Hackney next week, joining the charity Feedback.

“London is not a cheap place for a charity to exist,” Neil added.

In the past, Small Works hosted up to 25 groups including Project Dirt and Sunday Assembly.

Although there are no concrete plans for what will be based in the space, Ms Richardson hinted it would be an entrepreneurial project, with the aim of “getting Londoners to become self-employed”.


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