The young social entrepreneurs creating Spaces 4 Change

For the last five years the Spaces 4 Change programme supported young social entrepreneurs to start and run social ventures transforming unused and under-utilised spaces in their community.

Now as we close the programme we want to reflect, celebrate and showcase what they achieved, as catalysts for delivering change for their local environment and community.

The programme has seen a venture sponsoring a professional football team, an invitation to a royal wedding for services to the community, appearances on regional TV across the country, a café developed in a former funeral home and vegan and vegetarian food prepared in a former abattoir.

We have produced a short film about four of the brilliant people we’re proud to have supported, and more on that below.

Image of Mariam from a slight above angle who standing in a green space and smiling

The impact of Spaces 4 Change

Over 80 young social entrepreneurs, in four nations, received £300k of awards funding. They developed knowledge, skills, resilience and confidence in developing social ventures with a core focus on transforming disused spaces and improving the local environment.

It was great to work with young people with a vision and passion to create social and environmental change. They have been excellent at identifying these needs and working on solutions – as well as recognising what support they need to do so. They connected together, organising visits, case studies and links to peer supporters who had developed similar ventures, which are all key to building aspiration and developing vision.

The impact of the programme has been diverse and deep. They have contributed to social solutions such as: reclaiming disused spaces; community engagement and cohesion; increasing recycling and reuse; creating new and biodiverse habitats, local food production, and increasing environmental awareness.

Looking back, we didn’t just create 85 young environmental and social leaders - they in turn engaged and trained others. In some cases these people then applied for an award from us too. We’ve seen how some have moved into a campaigning and expert space. For example, Foodhall have been instrumental in developing the National Food Service Initiative, and Sam and Tom of Spark York have spoken at conferences around urban regeneration.

We can’t ignore that we’ve had a rollercoaster 2020 and initially some spaces temporarily closed in response to Coronavirus. However, it was also heartening to see the resilience of the young social entrepreneurs who have subsequently been able to re-open spaces and in many cases pivot and provide acutely important services to their community harnessing and distributing resources. For example. Greenfingers Community Garden provided a green space to visit in an urban environment during lockdown. They often have to strive harder to achieve credibility for their work as they are often perceived negatively due to their young age.

Visit four unique spaces with us

Eric from Business Incubator Group working on a laptop in a colourful environment

We’ve created a short film showing four of our inspiring young people and the spaces they have created.

Watch the full film here

We’d like to thank all the social entrepreneurs who worked with us on making this, all the UnLtd staff behind the scenes, and Fully Focused Productions, who were a delight to work with. 

Spaces 4 Change (S4C) was part of the Our Bright Future programme, an ambitious and innovative partnership led by The Wildlife Trusts, bringing together the youth and environmental sectors. The £33 million programme, funded by the National Lottery Community Fund, was formed of 31 projects across the UK. Spaces 4 Change, one of the 31 projects, is managed by UnLtd.

We learnt so much from this programme; from working with partners, Our Bright Future consortium members and all of the young social and environmental entrepreneurs who so generously gave their time to engage in the programme. 

Whilst the delivery phase of the Spaces 4 Change programme has now finished, its legacy, impact and the presence of new vibrant community spaces will continue. 

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