Freelancers are a tight-knit community. Running a solo business can be isolating, so you need the right people around you in your working life. Co-working spaces allow that to happen. They bring freelancers together to network, collaborate, support and learn from each other and this award celebrates spaces which do just that.
Impact Hub, Birmingham
The Impact Hub is heavily focused on community and its membership is based on trust. The space offers a work/trade service for those who cannot afford its service. This involves individuals giving up 5.5 hours of their time to help out with events at the hub.
There are standing desks dotted around the space along with small meeting huts, quieter studio space and general hot desks. The venue also has two event spaces upstairs, one of which is converted into a crèche facility every Thursday. And the studio space downstairs can also be used for events.
At the entrance of the building is a mug wall where every member has a coffee mug complete with their name, business and details on next to a polaroid photo of them to encourage collaboration.
Opened in May 2017, Clockwise is one of the first few co-working spaces in central Glasgow. Within nine months of opening, the space had 250 members and was operating at 70 per cent capacity. Now they are in the process of expanding the space by two floors to accommodate the demand.
Clockwise offers a variety of spaces to work, from hot desks to dedicated desks and fully-furnished private offices with 24-hour access. Memberships are based on a flexible monthly rolling contract and come with a benefits package, which includes discounts on leisure, over-night stays, childcare, restaurants and more. They also host their own events and even have a 5,000 square foot terrace.
Ashton Old Baths, Manchester
Ashton Old Baths is a historic space, reinvented for the small and medium-sized businesses in the digital and creative sector. Formally a Victorian public bath house, this iconic landmark has recently been rejuvenated to house a progressive community of freelancers and small businesses.
The central hub, an architectural marvel built into the original walls of this iconic building, is home to an impressive range of private workspaces designed to nurture creativity and growth.
With first class shared workspace, virtual offices and a great selection of events, Ashton Old Baths is certainly making waves in Manchester.
Nestled in the heart of Manchester’s thriving Northern Quarter is Ziferblat, a pay-per-minute co-working space. A self-styled home away from home spread across a 3,000 square foot sitting room, Ziferblat is decked out with comfortable sofas, warm lamps and thick rugs creating a relaxed, warm and laid-back atmosphere.
The venue also has studios, classrooms and meeting rooms accommodating for events, workshops and a multitude of activities.
It’s USP is certainly it’s pricing model though: visitors pay eight pence per minute – six pence for the meeting rooms – which includes unlimited access to tea, coffee, cake, snacks and Wi-Fi. There is a four-hour cap, after which guests can stay as long as they like at no extra cost.
Duke Studios, Leeds
Duke Studios is an open co-working space in Leeds city centre with a motto of people first, business second. It provides a range of workspaces, imaginative services and facilities to creatives from all fields: including film makers, web developers, Architects and DJs.
Founders Laura Wellington and James Abbott Donnelly created the space with two visions. First, to build an inspiring, stimulating and inclusive space for creative individuals across different sectors to work. And second, to turn this space into a creative hub to facilitate interaction, encourage networking and spark collaboration. Duke Studios accounts for everyone from freelance hot desks, to studio space for small businesses and even has its own bar and space to host concerts and other events.
PLATF9RM is a flexible co-working space providing a creative business environment for freelancers in Brighton since 2016. Located across two floors of Tower Point – one of two locations in the heart of one of the UK’s coolest cities – PLATF9RM is a melting pot of creativity and collaboration.
Film-makers, PR agencies, illustrators, charities, accountants, writers, cleaners, graphic designers and even mime artists occupy 24,000 square feet of community- focussed, event-happy co-working space. With relentless growth, oodles of imagination and whispers of a rooftop space hopefully opening next year, PLATF9RM has grand visions of becoming the go-to destination for freelancers on the south coast and beyond.
TMRW is a co-working space in Croydon, south London, that prides itself on having built one of the most spacious and functionally- designed shared offices in the capital. Specialising in the tech field, TMRW offers a range co-working and private office desks for start-ups and scale-ups.
With its entire management team and board having specialised in tech fields, as well as a network of specialist mentors and tech investors, there are few better platforms from which to launch into the industry. With fantastic facilities, an industry-focussed environment and its award-winning Byte Café, TMRW has set itself as the benchmark in the aptly named ‘Silicon Valley of South London’.
Avenue HQ, Liverpool
Avenue HQ is a stunning, glass-fronted co-working space overlooking Liverpool’s historic waterfront designed specifically around the requirements of the local community. Avenue HQ boasts a broad range of member packages from ‘Flex’ membership at £20 per month to private office space for £600.
Supported by Eagle Labs – an initiative by Barclays – Avenue HQ hosts up to 200 entrepreneurs and businesses and boasts a maker space to support rapid prototyping for all members. With a diverse calendar of events ranging from quiz nights and pie days to breakfast meet-ups and tester sessions, Avenue HQ provides a work/life balance to fulfil the needs of the city’s growing freelance workforce.
It is quite fitting that DoES Liverpool relocated in the past few months to the city’s trendy Fabric District. The former warehouses, once the heart of Liverpool’s thriving textile and clothing trade – including The Tapestry, in which DoES is located – are being given a new lease of life as part of an urban renewal project.
DoES doubles as a traditional co-working space – offering flexible hot desk and permanent desk options at reasonable prices (tip: your first day is free if you bring a cake) – and, in a nod to Liverpool’s industrial past, a lab specialising in laser printing and technology. Like the district in which they work, DoES members – entrepreneurs and company founders, artists and makers, developers and hardware engineers, academics and students – contribute richly to the tapestry of the city.
Signature Works, Liverpool
Operating under the Signature Living brand – an established developer of luxurious hotels – Signature Works is a sleek co-working space in the centre of Liverpool. Located in the striking Bling Bling Building, Signature Works provides its members with an environment that actively promotes an expansive frame of mind.
Not only do Signature Works provide stylish office space, their incubator programme provides members with a platform to present business to a panel of high-profile business people to fast-track funding or Angel support. And with benefits and discounts across the Signature hotel, spa, bar and restaurant portfolio, Signature Works is far more than just a co-working space.
Desklodge is based in the former Evening Post base in central Bristol just a few minutes’ walk from Temple Meads station.
The venue has quirky themed meeting room spaces, telephone and meeting booths, a spacious event space and funky décor throughout. There is free flowing tea and coffee available as well as a flexible membership options, hot desking and 24/7 access.
Desklodge promotes and supports the freelancing community with a range of events aimed to connect and inform members.
Space4, Finsbury Park, London
Nestled in the heart of north London, Space4 isn’t your average co-working space. With a pay-whatyou- can membership model, an emphasis on co-operative businesses and a strong community engagement programme, it’s a co-working space with a distinctively ethical slant.
Space4 may have just 25 desks, but they have big plans and an equally big focus on building up their community of freelancers. As well as weekly communal lunches, they also run everything from film screenings to data mapping workshops. To cement their ethics credentials, Space4 are also working with Islington Council and partnering with the co-operative Founders and Coders to offer free coding lessons to youngsters in the area.