The year 2020 was challenging for everybody. People were forced to quickly adapt to working from home and this also grew the demand for coworking spaces. People don’t want to work from the office or from home all the time, and coworking spaces stepped in to service that need for an alternative workspace.
For ARC Club, a coworking space in Homerton Hackney, their aim is to provide locals with a productive space that encourages healthy working. Coupled with this, their goal is also to make coworking popular, inclusive and accessible to everyone in their local community.
Nina Franco is a community activist and visual artist. Her activism work led her to ARC Club one year ago, just after the first lockdown period where she now works as a Community Manager.
The effects of the virus
Covid regulations demanded that ARC reduce capacity in order to allow for social distancing inside the venue between members. On some days members would not come in numbers and there was a lot of vacant space. Nina recalls how they as a team weren’t looking for ways to fill the space, but rather ways to make the space more accessible to everyone and to advocate for the coworking in a safe manner.
After Covid hit, the team at ARC researched what was happening around their local Hackney community and who was mostly affected by the pandemic. Their research concluded that young people all around the world were the most affected. It was evident that the youth needed a space to work and study as they had lost access to schools, community centres and libraries – and some home environments were not at all conducive for learning.
The start of something new
It was during this time that the Homework Club, within ARC was born. The space is open every Thursday and Friday to young people aging between 17-25 years. These young people come in as registered members, and they have access to all the resources and facilities in the space, at no charge.
The Homework Club serves the future-work professionals, and offers an environment that is inclusive and equitable. The programme was launched in February 2021 and the reception from the community has been amazing so far, Nina reports excitedly. ARC is looking to make this programme a long-term part of their coworking space, creating a lasting impact on their local youths.
What really sets coworking spaces apart is their ‘why’, and for ARC, their why is very easy to answer. The space aims to provide coworkers, young and old, with a productive, inclusive, accessible, and simple work environment that allows them to get their work done and that drives efficiency.