architect's impression of new community centre

Stand-out stories from a prospering Pro Bono Initiative

Sally Robinson | 17.03.15

As the property world descended on Cannes last week for the annual real estate conference, MIPIM, London was unusually quiet. So with the property industry ‘out of office’ and spring just around the corner (I say that as it begins to drizzle outside) it seemed as good a time as any to reflect on the growing successes of our pro bono programme. 

Launched last July, our pro bono scheme was set up to encourage property and construction companies to each donate 10 days of free advice and expertise to help a charity in need. Since then, 315 days have been generously pledged by 26 different businesses.

And while the statistics are good, the success stories are even better.

Community Links, a charity providing opportunities to over 8,000 young people across East London, recently sold a piece of land for £815,000 – over double the estimated value – following pro bono advice facilitated by LandAid.

The New Canteen site on Vicarage Lane, a former educational facility which was no longer required by Community Links, came back into the charity’s ownership in September 2014 with an estimated market value of £340,000. In need of advice on whether to sell or develop the land, Community Links sought the help of LandAid.

Through our matching service, we put the charity in touch with LandAid Foundation Partners John Robertson Architects and ChanceryGate who provided strategic advice, architectural drawings and cost estimates to Community Links, as part of their commitment to the pro bono initiative. 

Following the decision to go to auction, the New Canteen was sold for a remarkable £815,000.

In this case, and so many of the stories we hear, the services provided were invaluable to the charity and will enable them to sustain their vital community work. And whilst I wouldn’t disagree that traditional volunteering still has a place in charity-corporate partnerships, the pro bono way of giving is both professional, personal and incredibly powerful.

Make Architects also delivered the good news this month that their LandAid pro bono project in Bideford, Devon has won planning permission.

Make’s design of an invigorating new home for Wings South West will enable the charity to greatly increase opportunities for disadvantaged young people to enjoy and experience a vast array of activities.

Lead architect Jason Parker said: “We are elated that The Bridge Centre has received planning. It is a fantastic project that is really close to our hearts and it’s been a pleasure to work with the team throughout. We look forward to seeing all the benefits it brings to the local community of Bideford and the surrounding areas.”

These two stories are just a snapshot of the successes we’ve seen. Across the UK, property firms are signing up to LandAid’s initiative and charities are reaping the benefits of free professional help. Together we’re generating real change that impacts on real people.

 To get involved in our Pro Bono programme or to seek property advice, see our website