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Thriving coworking hubs – the beating heart of local enterprise across the UK – have been devastated by the COVID lockdown, much like hospitality and retail industries.
Coworking hubs have lost income, yet have not received business rates relief.
They have commercial rents and overheads to meet and many will miss out on Small Business Rates Relief grants and the Retail and Hospitality Grants.
These critical hubs – the lifeblood for start-ups and small businesses in our communities – now face serious existential threat without your support.
Mostly run by local people with a passion to inject life and enterprise into their communities, local independent coworking operators are micro businesses – just like those who use our services.
Each hub may be small in number but with hundreds of us across London and around the UK, collectively we make a significant contribution.
We offer hope of success by giving people the first step on the ladder. Take Silicon Reef – the founders started in 2016 in a coworking space in Kingston, London.
They grew rapidly creating 23 new jobs, moved into their own offices in Kingston and set up two more offices in Chester and Bournemouth.
We are the spaces you find on your local high street – the coworking hubs, some with childcare, many without, the incubators and workshops – created to serve you, to help our local communities thrive, to create new jobs and a fresh start.
We are embedded into our respective communities and provide affordable services that respond to local needs.
We are different to the large serviced office providers that operate exclusively at the top end of the market, are characterised by higher prices, albeit with free beer, free events and hotdesking thrown in to add sparkle.
Larger hubs offer affordable venues not just for meetings, but for training and events for public bodies, chambers of commerce, business support agencies and charities – all of which are themselves on increasingly tight budgets.
The benefits are vast, but without financial help from our Government to get through the Covid-19 shutdown, we simply will not survive.
Independent coworking spaces are so much more than just somewhere to sit and work.
Business owners benefit from unique support, opportunities to develop new skills, sharing of knowledge and collaborative relationships that collectively bring about a positive mental wellbeing only found by being part of a coworking community.
And this absence of community is being profoundly felt by small business owners across the country right now, during this period of lockdown.
Many people are struggling to work in difficult conditions at home.
Without a coworking space to return to, they face isolation, damage to productivity and, ultimately, the survival of their business is at risk.
Part of the sharing economy, coworking is often the only affordable and practical alternative to working at home or making a costly commute.
Our communities cannot afford to let these hubs die.
Local independent coworking spaces will play a crucial role in kick-starting the economy once lockdown ends and this is the support we need to survive:
A 12-month Business Rates Relief and for the Small Business Rates Grant not to be based on the Rateable Value of Business Rates
Extension of the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant (RHLG) scheme to community-based open workspaces – allowing local authorities to apply discretion in favour of open community workspaces that they know to provide positive social impact.
Consider direct applications from applicants they have had no previous contact with. No upper limit should be applied in terms of rateable value.
We are simply asking the government to treat us as all vulnerable local small businesses and ensure the same Covid-19 business continuity assistance is extended to all local coworking hubs.
Post Covid-19 lockdown the UK has to return rapidly to implementing national and local industrial strategies.
We must work our way out of recession and deal with the immense challenges and transformations we are still faced with.
Already lagging behind competitors in terms of infrastructure, productivity, affordable homes and workspaces, any coworking space closures would have a devastating impact.
We cannot afford avoidable losses due to Covid-19.
The UK Government has acted to protect Britain’s entrepreneurial future in response to the recent Save our Startups campaign.
We are asking the UK Government to act now to save our community coworking and local tech hubs – a vital component of the startup and business support ecosystem, as well as a necessary enabler for kickstarting the post-Covid economy,
We need your support.
How you can help:
Support your local community coworking hub by providing your email below – it will ONLY be used for the purpose of this campaign.