Unit 58 is a vibrant and multi-purpose arts hub on the Millmead Industrial Estate with a 275 capacity performance area and 16 affordable music/multi-media studio spaces .
They host a diverse live programme including underground club music, immersive art events, theatre, live performance and exhibitions.
Why the name?
“It does what it says on the tin because this is Unit 58!”
“I was looking at different areas in London but they were too expensive and then things started to come up here and I realised that Tottenham has great potential. It has these great warehouse spaces and good transport links and this community has an exciting vibe to it. I always used to think of Tottenham as miles away but now I’m coming here every day and it’s a short drive from where I live – even quicker on the tube – and it’s actually a really attractive London location with the marshes and lots of nice green spaces and the River Lea.”
How did you hear about the Opportunity Investment Fund?
“Somebody in Tottenham mentioned that Haringey had this fund. It’s brilliant and I think all boroughs should have it. The fund supports so many businesses.”
How was the application process?
“It takes time but it was a good process because, by doing a full business plan and cash flow forecasts etc, it really got me thinking and studying what I was trying to do here. It helped dotting the i’s and cross the t’s and checking everything and to do a full, five-year forecast was actually a really good thing for me.”
What has the OIF money been used for?
“It’s for the whole fit out of the 16 studios along with construction fees and architects’ fees - that kind of thing.”
What do you like about the fund?
“Well, it’s a good rate and affordable to pay back. And I like the way you don’t have to pay it back immediately. I’ve got a year’s grace on it which really helps to get the business up and running before you have to start paying it back. It’s certainly better than a bank loan. And I like the way there’s a bit of a community around OIF people. You meet others receiving fund money and meetings are arranged periodically so you can discuss what we’re doing and so we can help each other.”
How have you found working with the council on the loan and wider business support?
“They’ve been great. And I’m not just saying that! The OIF team who I’ve been dealing with in no way want to trip you up, but in every way are trying to help and facilitate what you’re trying to do and are just there to be a support. I have to say they’ve got a great job because what they’re doing is so beneficial to so many people.”
Would you recommend the fund to anyone else?
“Oh yes, and I have done already. I think it’s a great thing and it’s something the government should consider for all boroughs to encourage growth in a holistic way. So it’s not just about developers coming in and developing but working more with the grassroots.”