Allia to develop Papworth Printworks into social enterprise hub

November 21, 2023

Building to be fitted out as social enterprise workspace with café,
microbrewery and pizzeria.

Grant funding of £600,000 from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority’s (CPCA) Market Towns programme was awarded to Allia by Social Enterprise East of England (SEEE), the CPCA’s delivery partner. The funding is specifically designed to support the growth of social entrepreneurship and boost the social economy ecosystem across market towns and rural areas. Due to Allia’s experience of developing and managing buildings to support local businesses and create positive impact, its bid for the grant to undertake the substantial capital works involved in fitting out the Printworks was successful, and works will start in spring 2024.

The original building, built in 1929 was used by Papworth Trust providing therapeutic employment to recovering TB patients, and remained a key part of the community until its closure in the mid-1990s. Villages such as Papworth Everard have seen amenities dwindle over the last few decades, and with large local employers relocating elsewhere, less opportunities have existed for employment as well as community cohesion.

Allia aims to breathe new life into the area by encouraging socially focused businesses from across the region to use the workspace as a hub to work and create local networks, as well as providing a social base for the village community to gather. The space will be flexible and subject to final design, aims to include meeting rooms, a creative studio, a collaboration space, workspace pods, and a designated area for hotdesking, as well as providing a base to a number of community businesses.

Allia runs Future Business Centres in Cambridge and Peterborough, and has an active venture support team in London, all to support small businesses and ventures that have environmental or social purpose create greater impact, as well as local companies that want to grow, create jobs and benefit their local community. It is hoped that the Papworth hub will help to create

employment and training both through the café and microbrewery, as well as supporting social enterprises to thrive and achieve their impact goals.

David Broach, Director of Allia Future Business Centres said: “We are delighted to be able to announce this exciting project, creating a social space that will bring much needed facilities to the village of Papworth, as well as a workspace that will support entrepreneurship, the development of existing and new social enterprises and create employment and training opportunities. We look forward to working with local partners, SEEE, the CPCA and the wider community as we work toward bringing our vision for the space into reality in 2024.”

Deb Lee, Managing Director of SEEE said: “SEEE believes social enterprise is a way of doing business that benefits the whole community and is excited about the potential difference Allia’s vision for the old Printworks can make for Papworth Everard; it’s going to be a fantastic local resource.”

Mayor of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, Dr Nik Johnson said: “Our Combined Authority’s Market Towns programme is about getting grants to this kind of people-centred initiative – one that creates grassroots growth and builds resilience in the heart of our communities, fostering imaginative ventures that can help villages and towns to flourish, evolve, and attract more human-scale businesses that will encourage sustainable development and make lasting change.”


Allia Future Business Centres offers flexible workspace and a vibrant community for small businesses who are creating change. Allia Impact runs free business support programmes and innovative funded projects. Together, they are dedicated to supporting businesses to thrive, grow and create jobs, so that they can make a positive impact on their community, as well as addressing social and environmental global challenges. |

For all media enquiries, please contact Laura Rose, Head of Marketing & Communications, Allia Future Business Centres & Impact: 01223 781322

Social Enterprise East of England (SEEE) supports social enterprises across the East to grow, communicate and demonstrate their social impact. SEEE offers joint membership with Social Enterprise UK and its members are from diverse sectors covering Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. SEEE offers networking, events and news updates to keep members informed and also runs the Cambridgeshire Social Enterprise Place network which encourages Cambridgeshire social ventures to come together to learn from each other, support each other and help make the local social economy stronger.

SEEE contact: Jane Thompson, Membership and Marketing Manager 07704 858862

CPCA Market Towns Programme (Phase 2) – Supporting Social Enterprises in Rural Areas

In July 2020, the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CPCA) allocated £13.1m capital investment to mobilise eleven market town masterplans to support interventions in each of CPCA’s main market towns and to act as a funding catalyst to securing additional investment. This £2.5m fund is a continuation of that effort to tackle the long-standing challenges surrounding market towns over the next 2 years, with a particular focus on strengthening local communities and supporting the Social Enterprise ecosystem. The Programme looks to build on the first Market towns funding but with a particular focus on targeting this capital spending on people-based initiatives – including community owned businesses, social enterprises, and educational support.

CPCA contact: