THE BRIEF

Nacro are social enablers and have had a base in Birmingham since 2012.

They’re dedicated to providing a comprehensive range of support services, primarily to ex offenders and those in need of probationary and post probationary assistance.

Among their core activities they focus on people recovering from drug and alcohol dependency, social rehabilitation and housing. In addition they provide legal representation and in particular, offer direct assistance and support to vulnerable single women.

Edmund House, not only caters for the extensive and diverse administrative operation needed to deliver these services, but more it enables interaction, promoting a collaborative culture in what are otherwise very separate professions and disciplines.

Constructive’s brief was to facilitate this by providing as much informal, communal workspace, without compromising more typical, day-to-day office activities.

Further, the layout also needed to reflect the positive changes brought about by the lockdowns, which shifted emphasis away from a traditional 9-5 attendance of staff, to one based more on productivity.

THE SOLUTION

Effective use of the entire 6,300sq ft footprint, meant facilitating spontaneous interactions where ever they might occur. In addition we were required to expand on the need for typical, structured gatherings/meetings, something which had been lacking in the original floorplan.

This required us to look at what each team/department did and to what extent they required input from each other.

There could be no such thing as ‘dead space’ and yet the entire layout had to promote the feel of an open plan environment.

So, by creating two separate private rooms (enclosed on three sides by storage cupboards), a common room which seconded as an informal meeting space, or installing flip top table system in the presentation/conference room, the objective was to enable as much flexibility in everyday activity.

Fortunately, there is a significant amount of natural light, with external windows running along more than 70% of the shell. This arguably gave us a greater degree of freedom when planning where to put soft seating and breakout spaces etc. It also allows for future reconfigurations, without necessarily compromising on anyone’s daylight exposure.

PLANNING FOR THE LONGER TERM

There are many aspects as to why people find themselves in the position they do, but reoffending rates have been seen steadily decreasing since 2008, from 31.6% to 25.6% as reported in 2021. (fig: www.statista.com)

This trend has been largely put down to the efforts of non-profit organisations like Nacro, who are directly addressing some of the causes, whilst constantly looking at ways of expanding the number of people they can reach.

The Birmingham office isn’t just intended to be a local hub, but a UK centre for the next decade and beyond, coordinating representatives in towns a cities across the country.

Aside from simply moving into larger premises, the new offices have plenty of growth capacity for many years to come.