Group of diverse professionals

Build Studios awarded charity status

9th September 2021

Build Studios has been awarded charity status by the Charity Commission. The new framework paves the way for us to expand our outreach work and inspire more young people about the design of towns and cities through collaboration and learning.

We have now worked with approximately 300 young people from diverse backgrounds to explore potential career paths in the built environment industry. Our flagship careers enrichment programme introduced almost 100 Year 7 pupils to different careers in the sector in 2020 through a half termly series of practical tasks and inspirational talks from experts in the industry. We are now able to roll out the programme to Year 10 pupils, adding property development and planning to architecture and design to the careers we profile.

Access and diversity is a persistent problem within the built environment sector and there are multiple barriers to entry.

In the architectural sector alone, the number of women in architecture has only risen to 28% since 1998 (BD Online 2019 survey). The picture for race diversity is similarly concerning. 44% of respondents said that they strongly agreed with the statement ‘Being from a BAME background can create barriers to career progression in the architecture industry’ (AJ in association with Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust, 2020 race diversity survey).

Our education and outreach work aims to address some of these barriers head on by reaching students from diverse backgrounds that may not have previously considered work in the sector an option.

Alongside our schools work, we offer heavily subsidised office and meeting room space to charities.

Build Studios’ work is supported by Build Workspace, the charity’s social enterprise workspace provider. Build Workspace provides affordable workspace and business support to 29 small and start-up businesses in the built environment sector. The space provides an environment to enable small businesses, start-ups, social enterprises and charities to get established and grow, supported by a programme of events and business support activities.

These small businesses in turn provide a pool of volunteers to support the schools programmes, with all profits from the workspace rents reinvested back into the charity to deliver new outreach and education work.

This is an exciting time for Build Studios and a major milestone in the development of the organisation. As the charity scales up, there are plans to replicate this activity in other parts of the city and deliver meaningful social and community benefit through creative use of space.