ABOUT MAKESPACE OXFORD

We transform empty and underused buildings into affordable, community-driven spaces

The what & the why

We transform empty or underused buildings into temporary, affordable spaces for purpose-led individuals and enterprises. We have community hub spaces in Oxford, Abingdon, Wantage and Didcot, along with many other single-occupancy spaces across the county.

Through these spaces, we aim to foster a diverse, mutually-supportive community that facilitates connection, skill sharing and collaboration, allowing residents to accelerate their growth and become more impactful, more quickly.

We believe that some of the greatest challenges of our time – social, environmental and otherwise – are linked to the physical spaces we occupy. How our public spaces are designed, how we use them, and who can and can’t access them, have huge impacts on our lives and communities.

While the use of these spaces may be temporary, our vision is long-term: our work is a catalyst to develop towns and cities that are community owned, people centred and climate safe – now and for future generations.

  • 2018

    Makespace Oxford was founded by a coalition of local community groups and enterprises. 1 Aristotle Lane flung open its doors after sitting empty for 4 years, and remains home to two dozen freelancers and locally rooted charities, co-ops, makers and local businesses.

  • 2021

    The ‘Meanwhile in Oxfordshire…’ programme was launched, unlocking 28 new buildings, as well as hub spaces in Oxford, Abingdon, Didcot and Wantage. To date, the programme has housed 100 organisations and created or supported at least 200 jobs.⁠

  • Today

    We are replicating the ‘meanwhile’ model with groups across the country, to transform our declining town centres into places owned and managed by the people that live there; building community wealth, climate resilience and fostering cultures of care and connection.

Equity, Equality, Diversity & Inclusion

We aim to be a diverse and inclusive organisation that is accessible, welcoming, and truly representative of the region of Oxfordshire.

We are working to deepen our connection with our communities and remaking our commitment to equality, equity, diversity and inclusion in five important aspects of Makespace Oxford’s work: Dismantling institutional and structural racism, Confronting Social Inequality, Championing gender and sexuality equality, Upending Ableism and widening Accessibility, and Meeting the ecological crisis.

Read our EEDI Commitments

Director and Co-founder, Andy Edwards, shares some background on Makespace Oxford, and discusses how EEDI is integral to our work and mission.

Person sits at desk in artist studio space
Woman works on Computer at desk by window

Our Team

Alex works with our local communities to match individuals and organisations with spaces that will help them to thrive. With a background in cultural production and theatre, his previous work saw him touring the UK and Australia with drag queens, teaching theatre in schools and universities, and delivering large scale participation projects. As Meanwhile Space Project Manager, Alex is excited by the prospect of empowering communities of Oxfordshire to transform spaces and drive social change.

Alex Lui
he/him

Meanwhile Space Project Manager

Andy is a passionate social entrepreneur who has led a number of successful purpose-driven community businesses.
He is co-founder of Makespace Oxford and Programme Lead for  the ‘Meanwhile in Oxfordshire’ programme, as well as co-founder, designer and architect at Transition by Design. He believes strongly in the power of space to create more inclusive and resilient local communities, and is committed to transforming, repurposing and reviving underused spaces in Oxfordshire.

Andy Edwards
he/him

Co-founder, Programme Lead & Director

Claire joined Makespace Oxford in early 2020 with a wealth of experience in supporting independent businesses and social enterprises.

As Makespace Oxford’s Operations Manager, she takes care of all our systems and processes, and streamlines project resources so that we can be as efficient and effective as possible. Claire is passionate about supporting local socially conscious organisations and businesses across Oxfordshire.

Claire LeMaster
she/her

Operations Manager

 

Claire has been with Makespace Oxford since its inception.

She is an exceptional member of the team, dedicated to keeping our central buildings in tip-top shape. Leaving no stone unturned, Claire ensures that our spaces are always spick-and-span for our residents and the wider community.

 

Claire

Aristotle House-keeper

David joined Makespace in 2023 as a Facilities Coordinator. He has varied professional background, ranging from Computer Programmer to Maintenance Manager for a Cycle infrastructure company, using his broad range of skills to help repair, support and enhance buildings – by bike – wherever possible!  David brings a lifelong passion for fixing and improving both things and spaces, which sits perfectly with the ethos of Makespace.

David Smart
he/him

Facilities Coordinator

Dionne has worked in community arts and education for 20 years. Her work over the last decade has focused on accessibility; using the arts to enable new approaches, attitudes and transformative learning. With experience of working in a range of educational settings, community groups and ages, Dionne is excited to be joining the team as a Community Development Coordinator and Arts Programme Lead to use her experience to enable and empower others.

Dionne Freeman
she/her

Community Coordinator &
Arts Programme Lead

Fabio joined the team in July 2022, supporting our residents in their spaces and helping them thrive.

Having worked in the refugee sector for the past ten years – with a focus on social inclusion community projects – and having specialised in Advice and Guidance, Fabio is very keen to use his skills to make sure every resident receives tailored support throughout their journey at Makespace.

Fabio Di Donato
he/him

Community Coordinator

Hannah joined the team in 2022 and is responsible for storytelling at Makespace Oxford.  She is a creative thinker with a passion for social enterprise; bringing with her several years experience in visual arts and non-profit communications. As a professional photographer, she is dedicated to documenting purpose-driven enterprises and individuals. She is excited to be a part of the Makespace Oxford community and making an impact in her hometown.

Hannah Pye
She/her

Communications and Marketing Manager

Kay is part of the Community Development team at Makespace. She has over 25 years experience working with communities in different settings including theatre, building conservation and public art commissions; as well as being a Parish councillor and Community-led housing enabler. On a grassroots level, Kay has initiated inter-social art spaces that explore how communities relate to the space and people they encounter.

Kay Sentance
She/her

Community Coordinator

Molly is a recent addition to the Makespace team, bringing with her a passion for inclusivity, queer representation, art, and supporting small and purposeful businesses. With a background in events, arts and community building, Molly is excited to use her skills to help create welcoming and supportive environments for all members of the community. In her free time, she is an artist, an avid gardener, and a volunteer for queer non-profit T(ART) Productions.

Molly Palmer
She/they

Community Coordinator

Raymond comes from a performing arts background and has trained internationally in contemporary dance, musical theatre and street dance. His background in the performing arts world led him to build his own dance school before pursuing an interest in the start-up and social impact world. He is excited to be joining the Makespace Oxford family to help to empower different communities and share the amazing stories of our Makespace residents.

Raymond Pelekamoyo
he/him

Communications and Marketing Manager

Ruth joined the team in April 2022 and is responsible for organisational development, business planning and financing strategy at Makespace. She brings over 20 years’ experience managing charities within the arts of sector and as a freelance general manager working with emerging businesses. Ruth is excited by the diversity of organisations connected by Makespace and making a difference through our mission and values.

Ruth Cadiot
she/her

Operations Director

Sarah joined the Makespace Oxford team in 2022, working with the residents to support their projects, build community and help Makespace Oxford buildings thrive. She has worked in community development in Oxford for the last 10 years, establishing community led social enterprises focused on education, community markets and sustainable economics. She brings a passion and enthusiasm for innovative and participatory ways of working.

Sarah Thorne
she/her

Community Coordinator

Ashufta is a civil servant focusing on helping the poorest communities and regions in developing countries promote sustainable development.

She grew up in East Oxford and is excited, through Makespace Oxford, to support action that enables equal access to spaces and opportunities for all groups that make up our diverse local community. She trained as an infrastructure specialist and is also UK Chartered Environmentalist.

Ashufta Alam
she/her

Chair

Our Board

Bart is a member of our Board, and an experienced leader and manger working in a range of organisations. 

He is one of Makespace Oxford’s Directors and also our Treasurer, with an overview of our financial plans. His areas of expertise are people and team management, but he has also managed estates refurbishment and construction projects.  Bart is most interested in helping people and communities find and develop new ways of working together.

Bart Ashton
he/him

Board Member

Paul is the Chief Executive Officer of the charity and social enterprise Aspire Oxfordshire and a Director of its trading company, Aspire Enterprise Services.

Alongside his role as a Director of Makespace Oxford, he is also a co-founder of the Oxfordshire Homeless Movement, a co-founder of Flo’s and a Director of the Oxfordshire Social Entrepreneurship Partnership. Prior to joining Aspire, Paul was a British Diplomat and previously volunteered at Asylum Welcome in Oxford and as a Generalist Adviser for Citizens Advice. He holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy.

Paul Roberts
he/him

Board Member

Selin Nugent is an anthropologist working at the intersection of digital ethics, sustainable communities, and cultural heritage. Alongside her role on the board of Makespace, she is Assistant Director of the Institute for Ethical AI at Oxford Brookes University and Director-at-Large for the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus. She is has been an enthusiastic member of the Makespace community for many years as a potter with Sabali Pots, and is excited for the opportunity to support the mission to enhance inclusivity and accessibility to space and expand positive social impact on Oxford as a board member.

Selin Nugent
she/her

Board Member

Zahra is the award-winning co-founder and director of YWMP – an intersectional feminist charity that offers access to free workshops, resources, and mentoring to women and non-binary people.

 

Zahra has been a workshop facilitator in Oxfordshire for 18 years, delivering music technology, drumming, and songwriting sessions to young people and vulnerable adults in many different settings. Zahra’s goal is to build meaningful connections between different communities in Oxford so that support can be distributed mindfully to those who need it most.

Zahra Haji Fath Ali Tehrani

Board Member

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