Space is at a premium in our cities right? Then how come so many shops and offices sit empty, boarded up along our high streets and in our shopping centres with ‘To Let’ signs splashed clumsily across the front. Who wants to see that?
At Healthy Planet we came up with a great idea that would revitalise our towns communities, while at the same time saving the landlords money AND putting the spaces to good use for the benefit of our planet. Too good to be true you say? Sounds it doesn’t it, but we are already doing to over 100 spaces across the UK.
Here’s how Healthy Spaces works: A landlord allows us to take over the space, in return for a charitable donation, approximately half of what he would be paying in business rates, which he is required to pay after three months of the premises being empty. We in turn as a charity are entitled to an 80% rebate on the rates, so only paying a portion of the landlord’s contribution to the local authority. We can then put the remaining income to good use, running give and swap bookshops like BooksForFree, or allowing fledgling charities and businesses to have a space to grow.
So like Storemates turning empty spaces into income for their owners and at the same time preventing huge storage warehouses from being built, we can utilise empty retail spaces into a support centre for good causes whilst also saving landlords money. We also encourage volunteers to help out in the pop ups, so supporting the community too.
We were delighted to be invited to share this idea at the People Who Share event at Nesta in October, where other people including Mike Barry from M&S discussed the future of the sharing economy, in his case, the shopping concept that the retailer sees as a growing area of its own high street presence. So if big business gets the sharing economy, then there is hope for the future of the planet and its finite resources.
At least we think so at Healthy Planet!
“Without the landlords sharing their un-let space and volunteers sharing their time we wouldn’t be able to share the knowledge held within the 2 million books that together we rescued from landfill & pulping by Books for free. Thank you all for sharing.”
Venue Connaught School, Connaught Road, London E11 4AB
Give stuff Sat 17th & Sun 18th Nov 11AM-4PM
Take stuff Sat 24th & Sun 25th Nov 11AM-4PM
To find your local Books for free centre www.healthyplanet.org/booksforfree
For more info: www.compareandshare.com