How to use this guide

You might have a space and want to take your creativity to an even bigger audience. It might be you are looking for your very first premises to serve your community. It might just be that this is the first time you’ve thought of taking your work to a permanent place. Taking on a new place could be the way to grow income, audience, community impact, and your identity, as part of London’s creative story. 

This is of course not without risk. Running a permanent facility can be costly, it represents both new legal and operational commitments, and it will not be right for every organisation. Fortunately, we have a tool to help.

If you are a creative or community organisation considering opening or expanding your premises, these tools contain all the advice you need. In the following pages you will find a step-by-step guide on securing a new space. This includes:

  • Writing a business plan: The first step in securing a property is ensuring that there is a business need for it, that you have a long-term plan for your operations, and that the finances stack up.
  • Common Legal issues: Owning, renting, or otherwise leasing a location brings a range of legal responsibilities to you and your organisation. This section highlights the processes to go through and the protections you need before taking on a property.
  • Finance and Fundraising: Running a creative or community space can be a significant financial commitment. This section goes through both the financial commitments of running premises and advice on fundraising.
  • Running a space: Maximising the amount of time you spend doing the brilliant creative things you do out of a new property is about getting the basic rights. From how to find a place right through to conducting first-day checks and paying the utilities.

If this is your first time looking for a space, we recommend that you work through each resource in order.

You may have already taken some of the steps above or be an established organisation. If this is the case, but you want to take your organisation to the next level, start at the section most relevant to you.

Case Study

East Street Arts based across the UK has “recycled former offices, industrial units, shops and other empty spaces and transformed them into usable and unique spaces to host artists and other creatives”.

Are you reading this page as part of our Guide for Opening, Running and Growing a Cultural or Community Space? Have a look at Business Planning next.