What does space mean to you?
For those growing up in the 21st century, space has been extended to encapsulate social media platforms through which many have been able to express themselves.
This has led to the rise of vital activist movements such as #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter.
Growing rapidly online, it is hard to imagine what stage these grassroots movements would be at if not for the physical space and resources they had access to and were able to unite under.
This is what leads us onto our simple mission for Share Somewhere: to connect diverse communities to low-cost and accessible spaces.
With a simple solution in mind, the platform aims to help improve the increasingly difficult climate that local communities are facing. A Freedom of Information request by Locality.org.uk (2018) stated that community spaces are closing at an alarming rate of 4,000 per year. This drastic decline in open and safe spaces for young individuals not only prevents them from engaging in activities that help their well-being and personal development but also hinders them from achieving great things in their community.
The success of the Hackney-based youth club ‘The Crib’ – a space named by the local young community themselves, demonstrates the power of public spaces in facilitating the empowerment of children and young adults to be agents of positive social change. Their social inclusive holistic interventions include workshops targets groups that have gang involvement to those who are unable to read and write. In their 20 years of community engagement, The Crib has the annual participation of 1,500 young people, with 4,00 engaged in their non-formal creative learning programmes.
With the liberation of underused space, Share Somewhere aims to stimulate further community groups with similar missions. The programme has been funded by the Pears #iWillFund, a fund created to facilitate more young people from less affluent communities to take part in social action. Therefore, we encourage the listing of public spaces such as churches, schools and community centres.
Our website is easy-to-use and allows venue holders to generate extra income on their space by advertising them in accordance to their timetables. In turn, local groups have a platform through which they can quickly search for local and affordable venues to organize their next event.
With the success of our pilot in Manchester, which saw the registration of 172 sites including The Scouts, Girlguiding and St.John Ambulance, we feel confident about what the programme will achieve.
Share Somewhere will drive revenue into great community programmes and make it easy for anyone to find affordable spaces, allowing local youth groups and venue holders to speak, grow and connect.