The Hire Space Story
Hire Space is revolutionising the way that venues are booked in the UK. Read the story of how it began here.
The Early Days
Hire Space was set up by two old friends to help community venues. Will Swannell was a teacher in a London secondary school and, whilst his school was being forced to take emergency funding, its facilities were going almost completely unused in the evenings. Nearby, Edward Poland was working to save recession hit local authority venues from closure. They formed a plan to help venues with limited budgets to market their spaces for hire and, a few weeks later, they discussed it for 27.5 hours during a record breaking attempt at the world’s longest ever 5-a-side football match. By the end of the game, they had their strategy down to a tee.
Before long, they had spoken to enough halls, schools and community centres to convince a few brave investors that the idea wouldn’t just help community spaces remain viable, but might even generate a return in the process.
Shortly afterwards, Hire Space moved out of the kitchen and into its first permanent office, on London’s Brick Lane. It immersed itself in the UK’s thriving tech scene at “Silicon Roundabout”, and it wasn’t long before the website was attracting interest from venues for which it had not initially been intended.
Galleries, meetings rooms, theatres, dance studios and restaurants all began to get in touch; within a couple of months, there were five recording studios, three boats and a racetrack available to hire. The site’s focus became not just to help venues which didn’t have marketing spend, but to better showcase those which did. In a city hit hard by recession, everyone was looking to make the most of their assets.
Meanwhile, in helping communities to make the most of local space, Hire Space was also becoming part of the 'Collaborative Consumption' movement named one of Time Magazine's "ten ideas that will change the world" in 2010.
Shared Local Spaces
By March 2013, the team was seven strong and had gained the backing of the founders of TopTable.com, one of the UK’s great dotcom success stories. Along the way, the team had met hundreds of venue managers - everyone from priests and publicans to politicians and pet shop owners. It had over 400 live venues, had been featured on the BBC and had thousands of followers across social media platforms.
The story is just beginning though. At Hire Space's core is a desire to help build strong communities around shared local spaces, and it is just gathering the momentum to achieve this. That objective will remain central to the website’s vision for as long as it’s going.
In the meantime, The Hire Space Team ask you to write back with your thoughts on the site. They’d sincerely like its early users to have a real say in its direction. The aim is to build something that the public will love and, with your help, things will be developing quickly.