Involved Partners: 

 1) Our landlords and agents/advisers  

  • Southside Shopping Centre (Wandsworth) related: 
  • Land Sec 
  • Savills 
  • Wandsworth Council 

Examples from rest of the UK: 

  • Pearl and Coutts 
  • British Land 
  • U and I plc 
  • Ann Summers 
  • M&S plc 
  • Strettons 
  • JLL 
  • CBRE 
  • Dorset County Council 
  • Woking Borough Council 
  • Basildon Borough Council 

2) Our charity and council stakeholders 

  • Southside Shopping Centre (Wandsworth) related: 
  • Temporary Use Aid – Rainbow Rising 
  • Wandsworth Oasis 
  • Bonded thru Cancer 
  • Global Educational Trust 
  • Hillsong 
  • Divine Rescue 
  • OCA Community Kitchen 
  • Brixton Soup Kitchen 
  • Climate Emergency Centre 
  • RSPCA 
  • South Thames College 
  • Women’s Consortium 
  • Groundworks 
  • Richmond Furniture Scheme 
  • Recycle Your Cycle 
  • Hestia 
  • The Muse 

Examples from rest of the UK: 

  • Farplace 
  • MIND 
  • Community Foundation 
  • Respond 
  • Forces Support 
  • Mission Green 
  • Best Beginnings 
  • Dress For Success 
  • Medaille Trust 
  • Suited and Booted 
  • Go Dharmic 
  • Hoarding UK 
  • Unite UK 
  • Charity Right 

Over 100 local authorities’ business rates departments that have granted the charities with 80%+ rates relief.” 

ASTOP is a social enterprise that has managed the ethical temporary occupation of more than 400 sites since 2009. We act as the linchpin of a process that revitalises hard-pressed high streets and shopping centres. Owners of commercial properties have been heavily impacted by the rise in digital retail, as well as the lockdowns imposed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. ASTOP brings landlords encumbered by unused spaces together with charities that need premises where they can operate. Our work delivers significant benefits to landlords, good causes and the local community by putting empty commercial properties to good use: 

  1. i) Landlords: Allowing an empty space to be used by a charity leads to a net saving of at least 50 per cent in business rates. The landlord of the former Debenhams store in the Southside shopping centre in Wandsworth, south-west London, saved almost £800 a day at the height of the coronavirus emergency. Property owners also benefit because any problems with the structure or utilities of a unit can be identified sooner than if it remains empty.
  2. ii) Charities: Organisations get a space where they can promote their work without having to pay rent, business rates or, in most cases, utility costs and service charges.

iii)            Community: By putting empty commercial spaces to good use, local people have a place where they can interact with worthy causes and each other. There are opportunities to volunteer and directly help the charities concerned, as well as the creation of a vibrant social hub in a previously unused space. 

 As well as overseeing the process whereby such mutually beneficial relationships are created, ASTOP provides support with marketing, signage, branding and collaboration between organisations. We are proud of the work we are doing to bring such substantial benefits to all parties in this arrangement. 


“I cannot speak too highly of the contribution ASTOP has made at Southside in recent years. The work that Shaylesh and his team carried out on the old Debenhams site was amazing. They took an empty space and brought it alive by filling it with superb organisations and rebranding the whole unit so that it was bright and buzzing again. When Debenhamswas taken over by a leisure operator, we were delighted to offer other empty units in Southside for use by good causes. Southside has really benefited from our relationship with ASTOP –and not just because we’ve saved a lot of money in business rates!”

Kymya Doyley – Retail Manager