Upmarket – Worthing

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In Worthing, the local Lions Club, the Empty Shops Network and volunteers from other charities organised a six-week long Upmarket in a huge empty carpet showroom.

The main activity in the space was a charity market of 37 local charities. For the charities, the market was a good opportunity to raise funds, attract new volunteers, provide support to beneficiaries and gain fresh perspectives on their work.

There was also a range of other activities that supported in attracting visitors. These included:

– Scout Christmas Fair
– Pop-up art gallery
– Radio show
– Café
– A Vinyl Swapshop
– Soup cooking demonstration

In six weeks the Upmarket attracted a total of 12,000 visitors. Importantly, around 25% of surveyed visitors stated that the Upmarket was their principal reason to come to the Town Centre. That means over 3,000 potential extra customers for the other businesses in the Town Centre over the six-week period.

One visitor of the Upmarket building decided to house his company in the building. This resulted in the building being refurbished as office space, now holding 85 staff working in website development.

How did they do it?
The local Lions Club collaborated with the Empty Shops Network – who have extensive experience in organising meanwhile uses in empty spaces. The Empty Shops network took over the building from Worthing Council. Volunteers from local charities helped set up the programme of activities. To decorate parts of the space they worked with over 20 local arts students and established artists. The Upmarket featured heavily on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, generating extra exposure for this area of the town.