A PILOT scheme has been launched that aims to match empty community spaces with groups struggling to find places to meet.
The website sharesomewhere.org was created by Youth United Foundation, a national charity set up by HRH The Prince of Wales, to get uniformed youth organisations to work together.
To mark the launch of the website Youth United is offering the chance to win £500 to help make advertisers’ space even better.
Every space in Greater Manchester and Cheshire registered on Share Somewhere before the end of June will be entered into a prize draw to win £500. Spaces not run by a charity can still enter and donate the £500 to a charity of their choice.
Trafford groups and places already listed on the website include the Life Centre, St Martin’s Church, Stretford Public Hall and the Scouts.
Anyone with an empty community room or a venue not in use all the time – from church halls to conference centres - can register on the website. They can then match with a group looking for a place to meet on either a short or long term basis.
Michael Carpenter, of Share Somewhere, who is from Sale, said: “This is a great way to give something back to your community by just thinking a little differently. If you are a voluntary group with a bit of space, you can raise some extra money or share the burden of running your space with other groups, or if you are a business looking for a meeting space, you can hire a space from a local group, knowing your money is going to a good cause.”
The idea for Share Somewhere came from a recognition that many venues where young people’s organisations, such as Scout, Girlguiding and Cadet groups, meet are empty a lot of the time and so there was an opportunity to share those spaces and perhaps create revenue for maintenance of those venues and for other projects. It could also benefit other groups and organisations looking for spaces to meet in.
“The resulting website may have started with Scout huts but has ambitions to free up all kinds of underused spaces and make it easy for groups to find somewhere to do great things in their communities,” said Michael.
“We would love everyone to show their support for the site and list their venue or go online and see what venues are available for them to use.”
The website has been made possible by a National Youth Social Action Fund grant, funded by Pears Foundation and the Cabinet Office. If successful, listings could be extended across the UK.