Despite needing a lot of work, Aristotle House presented an opportunity that would meet the needs of the local community. Our vision was a social enterprise hub near the heart of the city, providing local community groups, start-ups, social enterprises and third sector organisations with affordable and secure working space. We proposed a hybrid model of co-working and private offices, as well as shared community spaces. Aristotle House would encourage and foster mutual aid and collaboration, bringing an otherwise empty and costly building back in productive community use.
Aristotle House required extensive refurbishment to meet health and safety requirements. After securing a lease and carrying out detailed surveys, we completed the following works…
- Stripped and re-wired the electrics
- Removed asbestos
- Upgraded fire and security systems
- Repaired central heating
- Installed new hot water system
- Built a wheelchair accessible WC
Since securing a lease on Aristotle House in 2018, we have supported dozens of organisations that deliver vital services in Oxford, and generate substantial social, environmental and economic benefits.
The space is now an affordable and accessible hub for social and environmental enterprise, where a strong community of networking, sharing and co-creating has emerged. Initiatives supported and incubated include mental health and family services, waste reduction and up-cycling programmes, community action groups, as well as a number of purpose-led start-ups and enterprises.
Thirty per cent of organisations housed here have formed collaborations or partnerships with other residents, and over 100 networking, skill-sharing and social events have been hosted.
The impact of Aristotle House doesn't stop at its four walls: both Wadham College and the local neighbourhood association have reported the benefits of having the building reanimated as a community space.
Our occupation has added substantial value to the space for Wadham College through the extensive building works completed, whilst also helping them to avoid an estimated £200,000 in capital costs, maintenance costs and business rates liabilities since 2018. It has also provided an opportunity for the college to engage with and support the needs of the local community.
Neighbours of Aristotle House have been enthusiastic participants in events hosted by our community, and have also reported lower rates of crime and anti-social behaviour on site since our arrival.