Transforming empty shops into centres of support

Monday, 26 November, 2018

Landlords with empty business premises can turn their property into a valuable asset for the community by transforming them into a means to tackle social issues.

Open Doors is a Government initiative to help community groups occupy empty shops and use them to deliver services for people who feel alone.

Landlords are being encouraged to put their own premises forward to be to be part of the scheme and receive up to £25,000 in funding. Only five projects around the country will be chosen.

The idea has been put forward by Communities Secretary, James Brokenshire MP, as part of a plan to tackle social issues such as loneliness.

Properties must be less than 1,000 square feet and situated in town centres or high streets with above-average vacancy rates. Landlords have until 14 December to apply.

The Meanwhile Foundation will work on behalf of the Government to link landlords with local community groups.

Cllr Richard Millard, EHDC Leader, said: “This is a scheme which could bring real benefits to our communities.

“Rather than allowing premises to sit idle this brilliant idea will see them transformed into locations offering help to some of society’s most vulnerable people.

“If you are a landlord with an empty High Street shop please consider putting it forward for community use in this way.”

Damian Hinds MP for East Hampshire, said: “With more than 27,000 premises reported to be vacant in England’s town centres, the Government’s new Open Doors project is an innovative way to not only help local community groups find a space to operate but could also bring a greater vibrancy to our high streets.

“Converting these empty outlets into hubs that can offer support to some of the most vulnerable in our communities could be a real bonus for local groups and town centre businesses alike.”

For more information on the scheme please contact: 030 3444 0000