Branding and Digital Creative Agency, Mammoth, stepped up to help businesses who lost office space when Cathedral Buildings, on Belfast’s Donegall Street was devastated in a fire in October this year.
Within a short space of time the businesses were offered space by Mammoth to enable them to get their companies back up and trading with chairs, desks and WiFi connections on the first floor of their building.
Managing Partner of Mammoth, Jeremy Poots, explained that they were delighted to offer a ray of hope for the people by donating a large section of their offices to create a working space and centre for all the companies affected.
“One of our staff members, Malachy McCrudden asked if we might show support and offer some direct and tangible help to the people that had been affected,” he explained.
“We agreed and gave them use of a large space that would hold 20 plus people, completely free of charge to get them back at their desks and operational as quickly as possible.
“Some of those affected were in tears (of joy this time) from this gesture by Mammoth, such had been the trauma of being upended by the fire.
“Hopefully there is light at the end of the tunnel as the group has been exploring options in a similar nearby building which might work for all those affected to move into in the longer term”.
Paul Kelly, of Form Native, was one of those who saw their business premises affected.
When our studio was lost in the Cathedral Buildings fire it was gutting in every sense,” he said.
“The response from the wider creative community was a great support and raised our spirits at a critical time.
“Mammoth were quick to offer help to their neighbours in need, they gave us space that allowed us to be in the city, catch a breath, and find our feet again.
“We are very grateful for their generosity and while we get ready to move forward again it is with a great appreciation for a creative community that looks out for each other.”
Tina Calder, director and strategist, Excalibur Press, said her business had been building their space in Cathedral Buildings over a number of years to support their work and that of others.
“The fire was absolutely devastating to myself and my staff,” she explained.
“To have lost the space we built up over four years was heartbreaking for the team and the uncertainty of where we would be settling was very worrying.
“Our four offices were also home to Merlin Arts CIC, NI Festival of Writing, BAM magazine and Belfast 247 radio station so the aftermath of the fire didn’t just impact Excalibur Press.
“When Mammoth stepped in and offered us a temporary space until the end of the year I don’t think they really understood the serious impact of their kindness. They gave us something most people struggle to find in life – time. They gave us the space to stop and think and re-evaluate everything whilst continuing to service our clients.
“The team at Mammoth have been incredibly supportive and for that I will be eternally grateful for their kindness and compassion.
“We have been incredibly lucky to have been supported widely by organisations such as the Cathedral Quarter Business Improvement District who we are working with to secure a new place for 2023.
“Whilst the impact and effects of the fire have not gone away it has been made much easier to deal with mentally, emotionally and physically by the wonderful support of our friends, family, clients and peers.”
Mammoth, which started in Belfast over 21 years ago in a small two-desk office space by its two founders, now has 80 staff across offices in Belfast & London. Mammoth had just relocated to their offices in Royal Avenue, overlooking the Cathedral in 2020 after purchasing and renovating the iconic art deco Sinclair House – previously a landmark department store in the city.
“Naturally, coming from the same creative industry sector as many of the businesses in Cathedral Buildings, there was an added empathy to reach out and try to help ease some of the difficult positions these companies and individuals had found themselves in due to the fire,” explained Mr Poots.
“Many staff members in Mammoth had been shocked and dismayed at the devastation caused to Cathedral Buildings – especially as this is only 150m from the Mammoth offices.
“And several of their staff members knew those that had been affected – some were artisans, designers with irreplaceable elements of their work – plus their livelihoods had either gone up in smoke or been put in limbo due to no access being given to the building.
“As the extremely damaged building started the assessment and recovery process it became evident that the local people affected would not be able to get back into the building for months, maybe indefinitely.
“When Malachy McCrudden, a project manager at Mammoth, made the request to the Senior Management that perhaps they could offer some unused office space on an immediate basis. It was instantly agreed, and Mammoth offered a 2,500sqft office space to be used, which included supply of all tables, chairs, lighting and heating for the duration of their stay there.”
To find out how you can support the creatives and businesses impacted by the fire at Cathedral Buildings check out their IndieGoGo fundraiser at https://igg.me/at/cqcollective
There will also be a fundraiser for those affected by the fire at the Black Box on Monday December 12.
Joining the bill will be artists such as Ursula Burns, George Firehouse, Aidan Mulholland (who lost his studio in the fire) and Myles McCormack among others. Tickets are available from https://bit.ly/3umykd7