The refurbishment of 70,000 sq ft of offices at Meadowhall Business Park has helped eight charities to incubate and grow through a corporate decision to temporarily let vacant space.
The former council-owned offices, undergoing a multi-million pound redevelopment by ARBA Group to attract aspirational tenants, have also proved successful for charities including Mums in Need and Forces Support, which have been allowed to take carefully allocated space in the undeveloped parts of the site.
A decision by ARBA Group was made at the project’s outset, to offer selected spaces to charitable organisations on a temporary basis so that some of the unoccupied, undeveloped areas could be put to good use during the phased refurbishment of the five office blocks at the park.
Richard Burns, director at ARBA Group, said: “This is one of the few developments within South Yorkshire which has offered accommodation to charities as we develop the site, block-by-block, enabling them to use perfectly serviceable space which would otherwise be standing empty until we bring it up to high-specification as part of the phased fit-out.
“When we set out to refurbish Meadowhall Business Park, we saw it as an opportunity to provide short-term benefits to not-for-profit organisations as well as the long-term aim of benefitting businesses in the Sheffield City Region through the provision of prime offices.
“It is great to see that charities like Mums in Need have actually been able to grow and secure their place by operating from our premises on this temporary basis.”
Mums in Need has grown from its initial 1,500 sq ft requirement to using 3,000 sq ft of space in less than xx months, demonstrating the benefit for fledgling South Yorkshire charities from accommodation initiatives such as the one provided by ARBA Group.
Laura Riley, from Mums in Need, said: “This organisation wouldn’t exist if we didn’t have the opportunity of starting out in the offices provided to us at Meadowhall Business Park.
“Mums in Need was essentially launched on this site as it allowed us to expand from website-based help for Mums in abusive relationships, to providing face-to-face support – which is incredibly important for those who need our help and we are now in a position to register as a charity, which will allow access to more funding streams.
“We have doubled in size since we took up temporary residence at the park – we now have 11 volunteers and when we are in a position to seek more permanent accommodation, we will at least be established and in a healthy position to continue developing the charity.”
Mums In Need is a non-profit local domestic abuse organisation which supports mums who have left emotionally/mentally abusive relationships and who want to rebuild their lives, it has more than 200 referrals.
Robert Eaton of Eaton Commercial, one of Meadowhall Business Park’s permanent tenants, said: “The idea of putting unused office space to good use within the not-for-profit sector is a great accolade for the park. Not only has it helped to populate the site and create an additional social element, it has not been of any inconvenience to long-term tenants.”
Meadowhall Business Park is located less than one mile from junction 34 of the M1, two miles west of Junction 33 of the M1 and within six and twenty-five miles of the M1/M18 intersection and the M1/M62 intersection respectively.
With 60 per cent of the refurbished site fully let to companies including Auburn Ainsley, parcels giant Tuffnells Parcels Express, Galaxy Insulation and Dry Lining (Holdings) Limited, Alpharooms, NG Bailey, Preventx, Kitchenex, Eaton Commercial Property Consultants, Chique Photography and North Midlands Construction Plc, Blocks two and four at the site are still tenanted by charities.
Richard added: “It is a great story that we have been able to help eight charities during the time we have been refurbishing the units. It is a responsibility that we should see more developers taking on and we will continue to help out where we have availability.”
The remainder of the site is still undergoing refurbishment with exterior cladding to be installed on all five buildings, the Sheffield office of Knight Frank and Campbell & Co are marketing space from 2,000 sq ft to up to 15,000 sq ft on the remaining accommodation.
Charities which have been able to capitalise on temporary accommodation during the phased development of Meadowhall Business Park, include Mums In Need and Forces Support.