A £3.6m London workspace will help spark creativity in disadvantaged youth

Big Issue Invest is investing £600,000 in Creative Works - a new space that will offer apprenticeships, training, mentoring and practical support for students from London's most disadvantaged areas

Big Issue Invest, the social investment arm of The Big Issue, is investing £600,000 into a new London workspace that will help guide marginalised young people into the creative industries.

The £3.6m Creative Works working space in Waltham Forest, London, is due to open in July 2018 after a co-investment from the Greater London Authority (GLA), Charity Bank and Big Issue Invest (BII).

Creative Works will act as a workspace for 100 creative industry professionals and small business employers. In turn, young students aged from 16 to 24 from some of North and East London’s most disadvantaged areas will be offered apprenticeships, training, mentoring and practical support provided by those using the space thanks to Big Creative Education.

Founded in 1999 by Alexis Michaelides, Big Creative Education has worked with over 10,000 young people and helped more than 300 land jobs since 2010.

The new workspace is set in a refurbished 100-year-old building, originally home to fighter plane engines during WW1, and forms part of a new Big Creative Village which will be set in the heart of the Blackhorse Lane regeneration area.

James Salmon, Investment Director at Big Issue Invest, said: “We know Alexis and his team will bring indomitable passion to the project, and provide young people who would ordinarily find it near impossible to enter the creative industries a vibrant space to learn and gather valuable on the job experience.”

The investment from Big Issue Invest comes from the Social Enterprise Investment Fund II LP (SEIF II), a £23.8 million investment fund that follows on the success of Big Issue Invest’s first (SEIF I) fund which is now fully committed having invested over £8 million into 21 social enterprises.

SEIF II provides a range of loans and investments, including secured and unsecured loans, equity, and loans with performance-related repayment terms. For more information, visit https://bigissueinvest.com/.