After a frenzy of coding, I’m delighted to say that Spacehive.com – the world’s first online funding platform for neighbourhood improvement projects – is live!

The idea behind Spacehive is simple: give communities the means to actually get things built.

Our first projects are an exciting mix. There’s a brand new £800k community centre in an ex-mining town in South Wales; a “busking stage” in Bristol; a project to restore an overgrown swamp on the edge of a town in Hampshire to its former glory as a 12th Century fishing pond. There’s a wild adventure garden for kids in South London; even a “dog gym”, for Essex pet lovers.

The projects will be kicking off their campaigns soon. So let’s spread the word and give them all the support we can!

Spacehive arrives at a tough time. The economic downturn means it’s harder than ever to find funding for capital projects, so we need smarter ways of doing things if we want to get stuff done.

Spacehive makes funding a new playground for your park as easy as buying a book online. The idea is that if everyone contributes a bit we can make things happen. And the beauty of the model is you only pay if the project actually goes ahead.

Can it work?

If there was anything positive to take away from the summer riots it was the strength of community spirit revealed in their aftermath, as people came together to clear the mess and rebuild their battered streets.  Some would argue this feeling of camaraderie only surfaces in traumatic times, but I disagree. Most people really value their communities and are keen to improve where they live. Spacehive aims to channel that instinct.

People across the country are bursting with great project ideas – whether they’re sports club owners keen to build new facilities, talented architects with a vision for reviving an unloved street, or any one of millions who is itching to improve something in their area.

But how to make it happen? The current merry-go-round of planning meetings, consultations, fundraising rallies and paperwork often means the best ideas choke on bureaucracy before any dirt is shifted.

The trouble is there’s a gap between nice ideas and action – ‘funding’. Spacehive cuts to the chase. We let people put their money where their mouth is and contribute towards the cost of the improvements they want.

In return you know that if your project gets funded, you’ll actually get what you asked for.

Suddenly we can get playgrounds built for £50 per family, high streets revitalised for £1,000 per local trader, and wetlands restored for £60 per twitcher.

And communities needn’t do all the heavy lifting. Plenty of corporates are ready to support projects and councils haven’t entirely run out of cash. If we all do our bit we can transform where we live.

Our website is not yet fully operational – we’ll be launching the tool that allows you to create your own projects soon. We’re keen to make Spacehive as useful as possible for you – so please let us know your thoughts by dropping us a line at info@spacehive.com.

We’re at the start of an exciting journey. Please get involved and let’s try a refreshing new way of doing things.

Best wishes,

Chris Gourlay

Founder and CEO

Spacehive