Camberwell, a Yorkshire-based ‘social enterprise’ developer and consultant, aims to ‘break down socio-economic barriers in the UK’. Set up two years ago, the company has already masterminded individual schemes worth £10 million.
Among other things, Camberwell builds workspaces for start-up businesses and dreams of creating ‘£1 billion in value within the social business sector,’ according to business development director Chris Hill.
‘We usually pick up under-used public buildings and refurbish them with loans and grants like the Local Enterprise Growth Initiative,’ says Hill. Camberwell battled for two years to save the listed Harehills School in Leeds from demolition, and secured £4.5 million in public and private funding to turn it into an enterprise centre.
‘The building is run by a community interest company, which cannot sell the building for a profit, and 90 per cent of all profits go back into the community.’
‘We are also looking at creating enterprise areas as part of another project, tying the scheme into the community.
‘Currently we have £16 million worth of schemes in the pipeline – we are planning on five major projects every year. But we want to up that and get into bigger discussions, moving from consultants into becoming proper developers.
‘We’d love architects to alert us to buildings or developments that may be suitable for social enterprise, and we would, of course, work with anyone under those circumstances.’
How to bag this client: Do some of the legwork – find an interesting site with opportunities and take it to Camberwell