Are you the type? You know who you are!

I see you! You may not want to admit it but it excites you. You absolutely love it, in fact it’s second nature to you.

The hustle and bustle and queuing up like a sardine waiting to enter a tin on the 8.03am to Aldgate East. You remember the euphoria and rush of adrenaline sweep over you after the dash for life to get the last seat on the train. 

The way you humbly proudly congratulated yourself on your speed and agility whilst simultaneously internally delivering your victory speech to your competitors who are left to stand over you, unamused.

Life throwing a curveball

Like you, I was routinely enjoying my undefeated reign on the District Line when 2020 threw a curveball that I didn’t see coming despite my 20/20 vision. Like many of you my commute changed, I now travelled from my bedroom to the living room not long after it became even shorter from one side of the bed to the other. 

There had to be another way! My apartment started feeling like a cage, I needed to interact with people outside apps, I was fearing for both my brain cells and waistline. Unfortunately for months I didn’t know of any other way not until I attended a friend’s launch of her new bespoke catering services at The Arc that I learned about coworking. It was a whole new world, not with magic carpets just Coworking spaces.

For those of you, like me, who do not know or fully understand what coworking spaces are, fear not! Coworking is an arrangement in which workers of different companies share a space by doing so you not only share bills, utilities, teas/coffees but it’s great for networking.

Like Columbus, I went about sharing my discovery with friends who knew nothing of co-working, some who were remote workers, freelancers and entrepreneurs who fully understood the perils, boredom and frustrations of working from home and how it can be a lonely and weird experience. Sure it was cool for the 1st month but when the honeymoon was over and you couldn’t escape back to the office.  It became really real and we were over it. I digress so back to the place where I first saw the light.

The Arc: Light at the End of the Tunnel 

Nestled deep down in the heart of Homerton is a beautifully designed coworking space called The Arc club. Now this Arc is not like the other, for one it is not manned by a middle-aged white man called Noah with a tendency for an early afternoon drink. 

On the contrary, this Arc is run by Co-founders Hannah and Caro whose space stands out in the area but not like a sore thumb rather a rainbow. With floor to ceiling windows it draws in loads of natural light coupled with the warmth of the simple yet stunning interiors and unexpected bursts of coloured fabrics and plants darted strategically over the whole space it’s vibrant, fresh and charming.

The Arc from both the design element and their core values is an example of how this team and workplace are changing the narrative of inclusivity within co-working spaces in this community. Since opening in the of Summer of 2020, it’s neighbourhood workplace model has been highly and rightly praised by the likes of the Financial Times, Courier and Stylist to name a few.

It goes without saying that Hannah and Caro are both passionate about people and community and over the years have been involved in various projects. So perhaps it’s not surprising that they would connect with Hackney based Kofi Oppong, founder and CEO of the organization UrbanMBA whose entrepreneurship and business course for young people are hosted there weekly, which further facilitates greater change within this community.

The Arc, UrbanMBA and a genuine connection. 

It’s one thing to say you created a diverse and inclusive coworking space it’s another thing entirely to implement that. From my observation numerous co-working spaces attract the same service users and members despite their desire to integrate and be more inclusive within their communities. 

Kofi says “when you are looking and planning forward to getting involved in the community, you need champions. You need a champion from within the local community who knows it properly who can stand up for and with you. That’s a really important part! It allows for a smoother  integration and changing of the perspective and feel of the co-working space”.

The Arc Champion and UrbanMba alumni Racheal (RMCooks) a local mumpreneur and chef (the friend I mentioned) recently launched her bespoke chef business with an evening of showcasing and sampling her food with a DJ playing great music says this of The Arc — “It’s a great coworking space to work quietly or to host a small event. Being local it’s convenient to access. Having worked for a few coworking spaces what sets The Arc apart is the people. Friendly staff and co-founders, the welcome I received first hand was warm and sincere”.

It’s evident The ARC Club has formed a genuine connection within the local community, it’s refreshing to know that everything about this coworking space is geared towards supporting the local economy forging and supporting local businesses and people from the suppliers of their delicious pastries to the members of The Arc club itself. 

The Pairing that Changes Lives

Co-founder Caro says: “The aim was to create a warm welcoming neighbourhood co-working space for people like ourselves: freelancers, remote workers and solo parents working from home. People who felt lonely, marginalized, tired and unproductive and were in desperate need of a professional environment, with a strong emphasis on inclusivity within the local community and its members that everyone felt welcomed and operating on what you see is what you get ethos. 

Hannah the other co-founder says “We constantly check ourselves making sure to stay true to our core values — to be honest, inclusive, ambitious and welcoming” she continues “it may sound cliché but you must do everything with love and positivity now more so than ever.” This message resonates and is in perfect synergy with the UrbanMBA’s mission and vision which is to reach out to young adults who do not have the necessary experience, knowledge or skills set and to help them transform into successful entrepreneurs and their vision statement which is a place “where no one is lost or left behind”. The Arc and UrbanMBA is a pairing that changes lives and does just that, leaves no one out.