A new fund has been launched to help make a range of Vale of Glamorgan venues available as remote workspaces.
The idea behind the scheme is to offer people work facilities within their localities, avoiding the need to commute to an office.
Cowork Local Festival will be launched across the Vale in May with an online platform showcasing the type of spaces that people can work from. Potential spaces include cafes or bars, churches, sports clubs, hotels, community centres or existing business sites with unused space.
As part of the Festival, venues can sign up to be listed as spaces for coworking and there is a small grant available to assist with the purchase of furniture or equipment. The event is part of a larger project that hopes to gather and launch diverse spaces for people to work closer to home, reducing the need for residents living in rural areas to commute.
Eight venues have signed up so far, one of which is the Vale Cricket Club. Gareth Andrews, Chairman at the Club, said he was excited to bring new people to their community space: “Like many other businesses and charities the last 12 months have taught us that in order to be sustainable we need to be agile and ready to explore new opportunities. One of the ways we can do this is to build stronger links with the community and the coworking festival will help us do that.
“Bringing new people to our club and forging new relationships will help us to grow and achieve our longer-term goals. In addition to our excellent facilities for playing cricket, we have a two-story clubhouse with great spaces for coworking, meetings, training and conferences. Our 10-acre ground can be booked and used for outdoor events and we have erected a large marquee that provides a lovely outdoor facility.
“After chatting with Gareth we felt that coworking would be a good fit with some of the other activities we have at the club. We’re looking forward to opening our fantastic grounds up to more people, providing a place to come and work in some scenic surroundings, and help turn the Club into a true community space.”
Coworking Month is an initiative being delivered in partnership with the Vale of Glamorgan Council and small business and coworking experts, TownSq. The project has received funding through the Vale of Glamorgan Council and the Wales Rural Development Programme, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.
CEO of TownSq, Gareth Jones said he was excited to be able to show the impact working locally can have in some of the regions most picturesque venues: “We’ve championed the power of coworking for some time, but over the past year the benefits of remote working have become even more apparent. However, while working from home has its advantages, waking up later, booting the commute and spending more time with family, it’s just not always practical. There’s the social element, but it’s also tough to live and work in the same space every day.
“Working remotely from a space close to home one or two days a week can give people the benefits of home working, but the headspace to crack on with the day job. But more than that, remote working benefits the communities around the spaces as well as the venues themselves, as people live and work in their home towns boosting local economies. It also helps keep traffic off the roads, reducing the commute times for others and helping cut carbon emissions.
“We’re excited to be able to offer some outstanding venues across the Vale – from turkey sheds and town halls to caravans and castles – we are changing the perception of remote working. We would encourage anyone with space for a desk and a desire to engage with more people, to get in touch.”
Cllr. Lis Burnett, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Education and Regeneration said their goal throughout the month was to build a new habit for people as they consider their style of working post-Covid. “We have all experienced very different lifestyles and work-lives to anything we have known before. The future will undoubtedly be shaped by our recent and ongoing experiences but now is the time to look creatively at how our future should be. Here in the Vale of Glamorgan, we are excited to work with TownSq and pioneer innovative opportunities for people to work closer to home.”