Meanwhile in Oxfordshire...

Transforming underused space in Oxfordshire’s urban centres
What is ‘meanwhile’ space?

''The wise use of vacant space while something else is waiting to happen''

Emily Berwyn - Co-founder, Meanwhile Space CIC

Since the launch of ‘Meanwhile in Oxfordshire…‘ in 2021, we’ve worked to identify, secure, fit out and let 28 vacant units to local, independent and community-driven organisations on short-term, ‘meanwhile’ leases. Not only does the programme support independent organisations and the local economy, but it diversifies our urban centres, giving people even more reasons to visit.

The programme was developed in partnership with Oxford City Council, with funding secured by OxLEP from the central government’s Getting Building Fund.

MiO infographic FINAL


Through ‘Meanwhile in Oxfordshire…’ we aim to support locally-rooted businesses, organisations and creatives who can help us bring to life a bold new vision for Oxfordshire’s high streets.

These organisations span different sectors, but are unified by a commitment to positive cultural, social or environmental impact. They help to build more inclusive and resilient local communities and stronger local economies. Our residents benefit from significantly reduced rental rates in Oxfordshire’s urban centres, as well as access to support from the Makespace team and community throughout their tenancy.

Phoebe sits in front of the poetry library shelves smiling to camera with text reading 'Resident Focus: Oxford Poetry Library'
Portrait of Dianne Regisford, Owned by Oxford resident focus


In finding, securing, and refitting underused spaces across Oxfordshire, we’re creating the change we want to see in the world, one empty building at a time.

We see this reimagining of space as win-win situation; as a landlord or property owner, the model presents an opportunity to increase the value of your space, reduce running costs and be part of an exciting social movement. For small local organisations, it presents an opportunity to grow and expand their work, and to trial having a brick-and-mortar space without taking on the risk that traditional letting agreements carry.

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