Our Story

Making space for sustainability, creativity and community in the UK’s least affordable city

Space in Oxford is hard to come by

Truly affordable space in Oxford is non-existent. In 2015, a small group of community-led and socially-driven organisations, struggling to find the space in which to fix, build, work and make an impact, came together to try a new approach. They formed Makespace Oxford as a Community Interest Company, to find innovative ways of bringing empty and underused buildings back into community use.

Space in Oxford is hard to come by

Truly affordable space in Oxford is non-existent. In 2015, a small group of community-led and socially-driven organisations, struggling to find the space in which to fix, build, work and make an impact, came together to try a new approach. They formed Makespace Oxford as a Community Interest Company, to find innovative ways of bringing empty and underused buildings back into community use.

In 2018 Makespace Oxford opened in a North Oxford building owned by Wadham College and awaiting redevelopment in Aristotle Lane. Forty social enterprises, workers cooperatives, small charities and creative individuals are now working from Aristotle Lane. It functions as a ‘meanwhile space’, a temporary flexible lease to offer maximum benefit to its residents while keeping rent affordable.

In 2020, in the midst of COVID-19 and multiple lockdowns Makespace Oxford was able to offer support to any organisations that were struggling, due to the solidarity and strength of that community.

In 2020, Makespace Oxford opened a new space in the city centre, right next to the train station, on Park End Street. This space, dubbed Makespace Central, serves as another flexible workspace and allow Makespace to support a new group of change makers, with plans for a larger community hub in the adjacent space, The Community Works, in development in 2021.

The project is a catalyst, a question and a demand to make space for sustainability, creativity and community. It’s also a network of vibrant hubs for community action, places where new partnerships begin and ideas come to life.

In early 2021, Makespace Oxford launched the Meanwhile in Oxfordshire programme, an Oxfordshire County Council funded programme, with a remit to open up to 50 new meanwhile (temporary use) spaces across all 5 districts over the next year. The programme has already had lots of interest from local community groups, charities, non-profits, retail businesses and cafes.

Makespace Oxford CIC is a collaboration between Transition by Design, Aspire Oxford, The Community Action Group (Oxfordshire) and the Broken Spoke Bike Co-op. We’re always looking for new buildings, new opportunities to bring empty, underused and unloved structures back to life for the benefit of the local community. If you know of space like this then we’d love to hear from you.
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Our Community

Transition by Design

Founding Partner
Architecture and strategic design with a purpose

Website

Aspire Oxford

Founding Partner 
Providing services and creating opportunities for the long-term unemployed

Website

Broken Spoke

Founding Partner
Fixing bikes with the people that ride them

Website

The Community Action Groups Project

Founding Partner
Community-led action on climate change

Website

Solidarity Economy Association

A co-op delivering research & education for developing a just & democratic alternative to capitalism

Website

Good Food Oxford

A network working together for healthy, fair, sustainable and tasty food.

Website

Oxford Weaving Studio

Textile design studio handweaving interior textiles and offering weaving workshops

Website

Paint Buzz

Eco-friendly paint for walls and furniture.

Website

Lisa Made It

Local illustrator, designer and maker

Website

Zelga Miller

Arist whose work combines a narrative rich with questions of memory, movement and transition.

Website

Bespoke Alterations Oxford

General alterations, wedding dress services, suit tailoring & repairs.

Website

Sabali Pots

Community pottery studio open for members and classes

Website

Share Oxford, a Library of Things

A community library of useful things for borrowing and re-use.

Website

EOF Hackspace

Member-run community workshop for makers and repairers

Website

Young Women's Music Project

Educational charity making music with women aged 14-21

Website

In-Spire Sounds

Charity providing recording studio facilities, production, and industry advice.

Website

Just Interiors

Creating bespoke soft furnishings, curtains and blinds.

Instagram

Woven Ink

An independent animation studio working with socially conscious organisations.

Website

Doughnut Economics Action Lab

Turning Doughnut Economics from a radical idea into transformative action.

Website

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