Gemma Glover of interesting Chester blog/ magazine Amble speaks about plans for a co working hub inside the former pound shop unit in the Forum.
“Coworking has become a catch-all term for people coming together to work in a flexible environment, who often don’t have a fixed office base. These can be Freelancers, remote workers, start-up companies or growing businesses that want a flexible, collaborative environment to work in. ” With traditional office environments in decline, she says that isolation can result, and coworking offers the chance for collaboration and knowledge sharing in a supportive environment. “It’s the opportunity to come together with others as and when you please, experiencing the benefits of an office: fast Wi-Fi, desk space and community”.
Whilst neighbouring Wrexham has 3 coworking spaces , Chester only has 1 , with over 5000 in total across the UK. The backers of the new hub believe that the city is missing out on the opportunity to help the growth of start up businesses and boost the city’s entrepreneurial spirit.
“We have grown disheartened by the number start-ups and SMEs moving out of the city – put off by long leases and expensive rents.” says Gemma. Alongside Mark of Tatton Consulting, the vision is to provide a space and a community to build and maintain small businesses in Chester. “Coworking spaces have been around for a number of years – Chester just seems to have been left behind in this regard and we need to catch up!”
Gemma and Mark are seeking interested people to come together and help shape the hubs development and establish how it can best serve the community. The council have been supportive and local businesses have already shown an interest. The name, brand look and feel are all in the early stages of development as is the interior layout. Feedback from the public is welcomed at https://www.surveylegend.com/s/1l6k
The location was offered as part of a profit share agreement with the council, with the Forum still scheduled for demolition in 2 years time as part of the Northgate development. It is hoped that the hub will further drive trade towards the market and neighbouring businesses.
“Initially, we’ll be launching with a basic model – providing the space and facilities for people to get work done. But long-term we’ll be looking to action other aspects which people are definitely looking for – networking, workshops, business support and incubation focusing on start-ups and retaining talent in Chester. We might not get everything right straight away, but this project is about developing what will work best in the Northgate Development, right from the number of users to space requirements.
“There will be a cost for booking desk-space – but we’re looking to keep this affordable, accessible, and a fair reflection of what’s offered. We’re hoping to open late in ! September.”
Meanwhile a free event on August 2nd in the old pound shop will allow guests the opportunity to learn more and get involved in the project. . Tickets are required and can be booked here – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/chester-co-working-the-launch-tickets-64732249902 .
For further details and updates see https://twitter.com/amble_hq . Potential sponsors, artists and change makers are encouraged to get in touch via twitter or email