Social impact initiative boosts economy, says British Land
British Land claims a year-long arts initiative generated £40 million ($50 million) of economic value.
The UK real estate investment trust partnered with New Diorama Theatre for the NDT Broadgate initiative, for which British Land provided 20,000 sq ft of space at its Broadgate office complex in the City of London (pictured above) to more than 8,800 independent and freelance artists free of charge over 12 months.
An independent report by BOP Consulting found the project generated £40m of additional revenue for the UK economy, including box office sales, grant funding, increased revenue for supply chain partners, and greater expenditure by employees and visitors.
British Land says the initiative supported over 1,000 full-time jobs, including artists performing in shows created at NDT Broadgate, theatre workers and people employed in the supply chain and in local businesses.
NDT Broadgate ran between August 2021 and July 2022. It provided more than 25 rehearsal spaces, writing rooms, co-working areas, recording booths as well as a studio and workshop. It created more than 250 original performances.
The initiative was designed to be temporary, making use of office space which became vacant ahead of redevelopment. The vast majority of all fittings and furniture used were sourced second-hand, and most was passed on to new homes at the end of the project.
Simon Carter, chief executive of British Land, said: “Delivering a giant creative complex coming out of the pandemic was a bold step. The results exceeded our expectations, demonstrating the power of culture as a driver for economic and social growth. In tough times, it is often harder to invest in the arts. Yet, in the current cost-of-living crisis and with many creative companies struggling to survive, the arts have a more important role to play than ever in re-energising urban centres and local economies.”
British Land recently launched a £25 million ($31 million) Social Impact Fund, focused on education, employment and affordable space.