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Origin Housing - now a landlord for a library

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Origin Housing - now a landlord for a library

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Published by stellajones for Origin Housing Group in Housing and also in Communities

The free library service supported by Origin The free library service supported by Origin

Origin – now a landlord to a library

Did you know that Origin is supporting a free book library that has been hugely popular with residents?

We own premises at 273 Camden Road, Islington, where around 100,000 books are available for free to the community. The Kindness Offensive (TKO) set up its headquarters there in May 2013 and operates the library where people just turn up and take books away, with no obligation to return them or pay for them.  However, it works on the basis that most who do that will also feel compelled to donate a book in return.

TKO are creators of the world's largest Random Acts of Kindness. They deliver a wide range of initiatives and have gained a substantial international reputation and online following.

Thanks to the generosity of Origin, sponsorship and volunteers, they have transformed a vacant dilapidated building into a vibrant community space. The building, a former purpose-built pub, is also used for other community activities including book club meetings, courses and childrens’ birthday parties.

The site remains the subject of a lengthy planning process. Origin bought the pub in February 2014, with the intention of developing 22 intermediate flats with a commercial space on the ground floor. As this initiative was already running, Origin agreed to let the Kindness Offensive continue its free library service until we are ready to begin developing the site.

Senior Project Manager Barrington Wilks said: “We were happy to let them stay for several reasons – it gives security to an otherwise empty building which could have become squatted or vandalised and it provides a good local service for the community in the interim. We will look to work with charities on a similar basis when we acquire empty buildings in the future.”

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