From Meanwhile to Financial Sustainability: The Florence Trust

January 25, 2024

The Florence Trust unveils how the Creative Workspace Resilience Fund contributed towards turning a meanwhile space into a financially sustainable long-term project

The Florence Trust left its home of 30 years in February 2022. We spoke to Steven Allbutt, Artist & Director of the Florence Trust, in December 2021, in an interview which describes having to make the devastating decision to close its doors to their studios and gallery..Since June 2022 they have operated a meanwhile space in Edmonton, in partnership with Heritage at risk. Founded as an educational charity by painter Patrick Hamilton the trust opened its doors to artists in 1990 with support from English Heritage and the Council for the Care of Churches. Hamilton had worked in a large communal studio in Florence, Italy and was inspired to replicate the beautiful surroundings and atmosphere of exchange that he had found so productive, in London.

We caught up with Steven Allbutt, who shared the inspiring story of how The Florence Trust successfully navigated a challenging situation, leading to the opening of their long-term building on February 1st 2024.

Words from Steven

“The Florence Trust have received levelling up funding to do the redevelopment and we caretake and cover costs for the building until works begin. This space houses 6 artists and will continue into 2025. In November 2023 we received keys to Holy Trinty on Cloudesley Square, London N1 0HN.

This is a 15-month lease to begin with, to turn the space into meanwhile affordable studios space, while the dioceses of London find funding and partners to complete the long-term renovation works. Holy Trinity will house 15 artists, rotating annually, across different disciplines as well as run a full gallery programme with our partner origanisation, Castor Gallery.

The residency begins on February 1st and the artists have already begun moving in.

The artists will be part of the long-established Florence trust residency scheme, receiving affordable studio spaces (£1.10 per square foot all inclusive) for 12 months, critical support and career facilitation as well as working towards group outcomes including open studios and shows.

During this period the trust will also run workshops in conjunction with local schools and the gallery programme combined with natural dye making and textile courses for local adults.

Without the Creative Workspace Resilience Funding given to us at the beginning of the pandemic from Creative Land Trust; the Trust would not have been able to leave its old home at St Saviours and move straight onto another project at Edmonton. Especially with all of the associated take down and build out costs, which in turn opened the door to Cloudesley Square.

The Trust now finds itself in a completely self financing and sustainable position.”