The Warehouse exists to promote, educate and inspire sustainability and positive environmental change.
How We Do It
Providing meeting, office, retail and public display space to the local community and organisations that believe in what we do.
What We Aim To Do
Create a carbon neutral and zero waste building that is accessible to everybody in Birmingham.
The History of The Warehouse!
In a nutshell:
The Warehouse is Birmingham Friends of the Earth’s environmental community building which is home to our campaigns activity, meeting space, the vegan Warehouse Cafe, Well Rooted Wholefoods and Sprocket Cycles. We also have office spaces which are tenanted by organisations that share our values. A recent refurbishment has transformed and increased our space, made it much more accessible and helped us save energy. We want it to continue and grow as a place where people can meet to make environmental and social change happen.
A brief history – then…
Decades of activism have made it what it is today – Friends of the Earth (Birmingham) Limited, a cooperative, first moved into the Warehouse in 1977. Friends of The Earth local groups in the late 70s were often involved in practical projects that were innovative at the time – insulation and recycling projects, wholefood retailing, and the Warehouse was originally an incubator for such enterprises, many of which still exist today. We recently completed a heritage project –http://www.birminghamfoe.org.uk/uncategorised/the-project/ – where you can read more about our history.
… and now
We’d identified the need to use our space better, increase our energy efficiency and make our building more accessible – in particular, moving the cafe downstairs and creating lift access to the top floor. In 2016 we ran a community share offer and raised £240,000 to make this plan a reality. Social enterprise The Jericho Foundation were contracted to deliver this. It was a challenging time, but we are really proud of what we achieved together – the end result is a spectacular transformation.
Our values within the building
In light of our environmental campaigning, we ask our tenants and volunteers to follow the building’s environmental policies for example in recycling, energy use, purchasing, minimising waste, and sustainable travel. We also encourage our tenants and our own staff and volunteers to support the other enterprises and organisations in the building and to share resources with each other to avoid waste.
While the refurbishment has achieved a lot we still have some way to go to increase our energy, water and resource-efficiency and as we emerge from the building project we are transferring our efforts into this.
Birmingham Friends of the Earth is registered as a Community Benefit Society – a type of cooperative – under the Industrial and Provident Societies Act. The Warehouse is run with the aim of being affordable to organisations that share our values but providing enough revenue to cover our basic costs. The rest of our funding comes from supporters and from fundraising activities including providing services at music festivals.
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