Meanwhile use

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Meanwhile Use: The Highlights

As the Meanwhile Use project is coming to an end, we’re looking back at the highlights in this special summary video. We’re so pleased this project has been able to help those creative people and businesses of Plymouth. Watch the video below to hear how the project has impacted the people of our city!

Read more and see our favourite pictures here.

 

part of Meanwhile Use?

We’ve put together a useful guide for any creatives thinking of launching a Meanwhile Use space to test their work in empty or underused space. It’s a compilation of all the lessons we’ve learned (sometimes the hard way!) working with landlords and creatives in our successful #MeanwhileUse programme over the past year.
It’s one of the tools we hope will be a legacy for helping for more Meanwhile Use projects in the future, as creativity thrives in our high street spaces.

Check it out below.

Studies and reports highlight a need to diversify the high street, moving away from a reliance on retail, in order to truly reinvent our town centres for a sustainable future. The high street has also been heavily impacted by the pandemic leading to an increase in vacant units and evidence that indicates consumer buying habits may be permanently changed. 

In Plymouth we have an opportunity, with the support of various funds and a committed partnership, to revive our city centre through the development of a meanwhile use programme to stimulate activity in the short-term leading to long-term change, and create a sustainable model of business start up and growth.

The Meanwhile Use Programme

Plymouth Culture is working with Plymouth City Council, the City Centre Company and Vacancy Atlas to support  imaginative projects that occupy vacant spaces in the city centre through a meanwhile use model.

Projects will be rent free and rates and utilities will be paid. 

This approach provides opportunity for pop-up, experimentation and testing of ideas in a low risk way. It is an ideal way to pilot initiatives that can then be refined for a long term future.

Projects will be rent free and rates and utilities will be paid. We also have grants available of up to £2,000 to fund set up and running costs.

This approach provides opportunity for pop-up, experimentation and testing of ideas in a low risk way. It is an ideal way to pilot initiatives that can then be refined for a long term future.

Context

Studies and reports highlight a need to diversify the high street, moving away from a reliance on retail, in order to truly reinvent our town centres for a sustainable future. The high street has also been heavily impacted by the pandemic leading to an increase in vacant units and evidence that indicates consumer buying habits may be permanently changed. 

In Plymouth we have an opportunity, with the support of various funds and a committed partnership, to revive our city centre through the development of a meanwhile use programme to stimulate activity in the short-term leading to long-term change, and create a sustainable model of business start up and growth.

Objectives

  • Test new business and partnership models 
  • Increase footfall to the high street
  • Rebuild customer confidence in the high street
  • Bring new audiences to the high street 
  • Test products and experiences on the high street 
  • Identify financially viable products and experiences to occupy the high street

In the long term we aim to:

  • Increase footfall and dwell time on the high Street
  • Improve and expand the high street night time economy 
  • Develop new models of business and ownership to create public-private-civic-creative
    partnerships
  • Build pride in our city

 

The Call

We are calling community organisations, creative individuals and entrepreneurs in the city to propose creative and imaginative  projects that deliver activities and experiences in response to the objectives listed above.

Your project can be anything from a one day pop-up to a longer-term initiative lasting up to 4 weeks. We are particularly looking to support proposals that have the potential to be sustainable, test innovative ideas, and bring new visitors to the high street. You will need to demonstrate within your application how this short-term funding will support you to develop a longer term  offering.  

The meanwhile use space will be made available rent free. You can apply for funding of up to £2,000 to support the project delivery costs including: production, staffing, insurance, marketing, evaluation, and other associated costs. In addition to project funding, you will be supported by a Project Manager from Plymouth Culture, who will oversee the programme and help connect projects with potential partners.

As a funded project you will be required to capture data that evidences the impact of the initiative and how it has contributed to the objectives. We will provide resources to create a case study about selected meanwhile use initiatives. 

Application

There are currently no available units for use, but you can read about projects that have taken place in 2023 below.

Eligibility

Initiatives must:

  • Be inclusive to all communities.
  • Be able to demonstrate cash-flow ability to cover project costs over and above any meanwhile use grant.
  • Be able to meet due diligence checks if grant funded

Funding

This project is part of the delivery programme for the Interreg-funded C-Care Project and HIstoric England’s High Street Heritage Action Zone programme.

Selection

The proposals will be evaluated and selected by a panel including members of Plymouth City Council’s Economic Development team, Plymouth Culture and external specialists from culture and business sectors. We will not be able to provide detailed feedback on unsuccessful applications. The panel’s decision is final.

This initiative is funded by:

Previous Projects

The following projects have been operating in 2022/23:

Cornwall Street

Cornwall Street

Meanwhile Use, part of the delivery programme for the Interreg Europe-funded C-Care Project and Historic England’s High Street Heritage Action Zone programme, looks to revive Plymouth City Centre.The programme looks to stimulate activity in the short-term leading to...

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2 Royal Parade

2 Royal Parade

Based in the former H. Samuels building is our latest Meanwhile Use space.  The space has been used by Abigail Eaton and her sustainable fashion brand. Watch the video to find out more:The Meanwhile Use programme is funded through Historic England (Heritage Action...

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Still/Moving

Still/Moving

Local artist collection Still/Moving worked with talented skaters from Prime Skatepark Plymouth to create one of the stunning light installations that appeared around Plymouth city centre this summer.This project is part of Historic England High Streets Heritage...

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Plymouth Community Climate Centre

Plymouth Community Climate Centre

Plymouth Community Climate Centre, a social enterprise dedicated to engaging, educating and empowering communities to respond to the climate crisis, opened in New George Street. This welcoming and collaborative community space gathers and signposts events, activities,...

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Vacancy Atlas

Vacancy Atlas

Vacancy Atlas are based at their own Meanwhile Use space at 107 Cornwall Street, which was also used to showcase ‘pop-ups’ through the summer. The space has been used by Owen Makes, who creates beautiful handmade ceramics. Watch the video to find out more:Also filling...

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Civic Space

Civic Space

Civic Space brings art and creativity together with the local skating community, celebrating Plymouth’s skating heritage with projects such as the mural at the Civic Centre and PRIMEdesign. PRIMEdesign has been made by Prime Skate Park with the support of creative...

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Zedify & Bikespace

Zedify & Bikespace

Devonport-based Community Interest Company Bikespace is partnering with cargo bike courier service Zedify in Old Town Street, a hub for consolidating deliveries for businesses. They offer a zero emissions, same- and next-day delivery service for businesses. More info...

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Sprite Arts

Sprite Arts

A collective of five womxn artists based at 15-19 Old Town Street until December who aim to make arts events, workshops and exhibitions, establish artist residency programmes and mentoring opportunities. Their opening exhibition, Immersion, featured the wonderful...

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Hidden Art Gallery

Hidden Art Gallery

This empty space in Plymouth city centre has transformed into a vibrant pop-up gallery showcasing the work of some of the city’s most exciting up-and-coming artists. The vacant retail unit at 71 Cornwall Street became the ‘Hidden Art Gallery’ - a gallery run by...

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