A successful project will consider how the learning space’s running costs and planned maintenance will be funded. When planning, consider which elements of programmes are income-generating, or could be, without excluding target audiences.
Learning activities should be accessible, so if you decide to charge, think carefully about how you can ensure your pricing structure does not become a barrier for target participants. For example, many sites charge fees for learning sessions or family events. Fee-paying models where some places are funded and some subsidised can work well to ensure that everyone is able to access the site’s provision.
Funders of learning spaces understand the need to plan for income generation. However, they will want to ensure that the primary function of a learning space is never compromised, and that the balance of fee-paying activity and open access is appropriate to the site’s aims and audience needs.
Hire of the learning spaces can be part of the income-generation model, but first and foremost a learning space should be for learning activity: other uses should be seen as secondary.
Use of a learning space for corporate hire or internal meetings needs to be carefully considered, planned and managed. In our survey of learning officers, the most frequent response to the question, ‘What makes spaces effective?’ was flexibility. This flexibility ensures that a space can be used for a variety of audiences, as well as being appealing for corporate hire and meetings. There may be an additional cost to crafting a space that can serve these different purposes.