CASE STUDY: The Old Print Works, Birmingham

The Old Print Works is a multi-purpose arts venue and social space in Birmingham. Tenants have successfully applied to The Hive for advice on how to set up as a co-operative.

The Old Print Works is a a multi-purpose arts venue situated in Badsall Heath, one of Birmingham’s most deprived areas.

It is a vibrant social space with a growing user base, a focal point for intercultural community engagement and sustainable arts practice. Tenants include a cafe, events spaces, a community garden as well as studio spaces for ceremicists, carpenters, cabinet makers, photographers, fashion designers and arts educators.

The building’s tenants want to take over the leasehold or freehold of the property as well as the building’s management. By doing so they hope to cement the Old Print Works as a thriving hub for arts engagement, sustainable living, civic cohesion and job creation through support of tenant enterprises and activities which benefit the local residents.

Tenants of the Old Print Works have applied to The Hive to get support to set up as a co-operative, including one-to-one advice on the best structure to pursue. The group has been offered a place on our group advice scheme, meaning they have been matched with an expert adviser who will run a one-day session to several groups located in the same region who have similar needs.

Tessa Burwood, from Professional Incredibles, who run Gaia’s Garden at the Old Print Works, says:

"Accessing support through The Hive marks a huge step forward for our newly forming cooperative. By collectivising through a democratic legal structure, we can streamline decision-making, really get to grips with improvements to the Old Print Works and, develop our offer to the neighbourhood."

"It will help us to achieve a real sense of shared ownership and security for all those who occupy the space, creating one point of contact, and strength in numbers. It will also ready us to access revenue streams specifically geared towards cooperatives, which will help us to build on this resilient, agile and talented community."

Find out more

The Old Print Works: Website | Twitter | Instagram


Groups and co-operatives can apply for support from The Hive throughout the year. Find out more and apply today at: www.thehive.coop/apply

See our infographic of successful applicants receiving advice and support through The Hive.

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Written by Leila O'Sullivan
Updated: 26/09/2016