Business Charity Awards: Charity Partnership, Small Businesses – Camden Town Unlimited with the CTU Community Project for Camden Collective

For an outstanding partnership between a business with fewer than 50 employees and a UK charity

Camden Collective moves businesses into unused space
Camden Collective moves businesses into unused space

What was the partnership?

Aware that Camden Town was not fulfilling its economic and social potential, Camden Collective was founded by the small business Camden Town Unlimited and the local charity the CTU Community Project to tackle social issues by removing barriers to entering business, reducing unemployment and unlocking empty office and shop space for worthwhile use.

What did it do?

The partnership moved into unused office and shop spaces with notice periods of between seven and 30 days, creating more than 66,500 square feet of mixed-use community space for local businesses, including market stalls, event spaces and pop-up retail opportunities.

Why did it win?

This ambitious partnership did not shy away from risk. Despite the company employing fewer than 10 full-time staff members, Camden Town Unlimited made an initial commitment of more than 30 per cent of its revenue for the duration of the project, and has donated more than £857,000 to the project to date. Directors and staff volunteered their time towards activities including mentoring, project administration and event management, and the business provided interest-free loans of up to £10,000 to start-ups working within the project. Since the project began, it has supported 394 business starts, with a make-up of 62 per cent female founders, 34 per cent BAME founders and an average founder age of 23. Businesses created more than 224 new jobs lasting at least 26 weeks, and the hired space hosted more than 471 separate pop-up occupiers in fashion, music, media and live performances.

What did the judges say?

Kyle Parks, deputy chair of the British Youth Council, praised the impressive variety of support offered by the partnership. “I like that this developed from a pilot project, where a risk was taken on an idea, with a full partnership in place,” he said. “Diversity and sustainability played a central role, and it is heartening to see a partnership having impact as an enabler of other organisations.”

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