Impact Hub is a community centre and co-working space which aims to build a more equal and just city.
The Impact Hub is a community centre and the home of Mission Birmingham, a movement that aims to bring people together and build a better city. The project started with a small founding team working voluntarily to make the hub a reality. They signed the lease for the space in 2014 and over the next year involved the local community in the design and creation of the Impact Hub.
The space opened in May 2015 as a co-working space for creatives, entrepreneurs, scientists and activists, and a venue for community events. It has since also become the base for member-led projects including #radicalchildcare: exploring how to better host parents and children with radical childcare models, and DemoDev: using data to address the housing crisis and help people build their own homes.
Co-founder Immy Kaur told the Observer: “You were raised to believe Birmingham was a bit shit and you were embarrassed to be from there but I wanted to explore what it would look like to build something in my own city.
“We brought together people from a wide range of backgrounds who care about social justice and we have been experimenting. It was never about co-working – we’re not a corporate space – this is about the town hall for the 21st century.”
New rules needed
Policies that can help unleash the potential of this or similar initiatives across the UK.
Expand the community and co-operative banking sector
Stakeholder banks can be mandated to serve the public interest or local communities rather than simply to maximise returns.
Turn RBS into a network of local banks
New banks would be owned in trust for the public benefit and mandated to lend only within their local area.
Create devolved ‘just transition’ funds
Government should devolve a proportion of its Green New Deal budget to support local just transition plans.
Promote community wealth building
Support co-ops to thrive in their localities by anchoring them within place-based industrial and community wealth building strategies.
Create affordable workspaces
Affordable workspaces are essential to the survival of independent businesses.