A vibrant neighbourhood destination in Twickenham, by pioneering startup Patch, will officially open its doors next week on 21 September for locals to ‘WNH’ – aka Work Near Home – in a bid to reignite the high street. The new ‘lighthouse for local life’ will champion culture, community and the spirit of entrepreneurship.
The transformation of one of the town’s most historic Art Deco buildings is Patch’s biggest location to date. It will bring 250 new jobs to the area, by encouraging people to reinvest their time, money and talent into where they live by working closer to home.
With its array of independent businesses, and its creative spirit and sense of community – Twickenham was identified as the perfect place for a Patch to provide a cultural epicentre for local working people.
Patch’s latest opening is part of the business’s ambitious plans for UK-wide expansion and a space on every high street in every major town. The neighbourhood venture offers design-led spaces for not just a wide range of work uses, but also community and cultural events.
This new destination includes a 3,500 sq ft ground floor public access space. This includes Café Arora, with Indian street-food served by local resident Sheetal Arora, a multi-purpose events studio, a local makers market and a podcast studio. The space will host a programme of community and cultural events including inspiring talks, supper clubs, sports clubs, business workshops, networking events and crafts classes, to name just a few.
This extensive redevelopment was supported by Richmond Council and the South London Partnership, who secured funding for the project via the BIG South London programme.
Central to Patch’s ‘WNH’ vision is the promotion of access to excellent workspaces and job opportunities located near people’s homes. As a result, Patch offers flexible memberships designed to accommodate a variety of working schedules, making them ideal for hybrid workers, working parents, growing SMEs, or individuals entering the workforce for the first time. Membership for workspace access starts at just £24 per month. Additionally, they will be providing a number of free scholarships to local young people.
Freddie Fforde, Founder and CEO of Patch, said: “Where, when and how we work has changed. We call it the ‘Work Near Home’ era, and it’s based on our belief that spending more time in our local community is key to creating happier societies, healthier high streets and greater opportunities for all. It’s about having a space to work, interact with others and feel productive – but also being close enough to do the school run, go for lunch locally and interact with and discover other local businesses. Patch customers tell us one of their favourite aspects of our venues is the lack of commute, sense of local community and better work life balance.”
The flagship site has been thoughtfully designed in collaboration with handpicked partners such as local designer and ex-Global Furniture Director for WeWork Dean Connell who runs independent design studio, IAMDC who work with. The collective design approach reflects South London’s culture of creativity and forms a central part of the character of the new spaces. The new neighbourhood destination has also collaborated with local brewery Middle Child Brewery to create a signature Lighthouse Pale Ale to mark the launch.
Paloma Strelitz, Patch’s Head of Product & Creative Director, explains: “Our aim is to celebrate the people, groups, and businesses that make our neighbourhoods distinctive and special. We are excited to see how Patch will become a new lighthouse for local life, bringing people together to work, collaborate, learn, create, and connect. The design approach celebrates the building’s Art Deco history and its new purpose as a centre for work, community, and creativity. We have superfast wifi, second screens and ergonomic chairs alongside bespoke timber furniture, plenty of plants, playful design touches, and lots of natural light. So, if you want to build your business, hold a workshop, or host a community event – you bring the ideas – we’ll provide the space.”
Cllr Gareth Roberts, Leader of Richmond Council and Chair of the South London Partnership, said: “I am delighted we can now announce Patch will be delivering this new enterprise and innovation hub and look forward to welcoming businesses, entrepreneurs and residents from across our borough and beyond to the space and to Twickenham.”
Patch has already launched sites in Chelmsford, Essex, and High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire which are used by thousands of residents, giving them the flexibility to work near home in beautiful and dynamic workspaces while connecting with and contributing to their local community. Over 5,000 people have attended 200 community events at the Chelmsford venue – a former brewery – since its launch, including a Festival of Ideas, BBC Introducing one-day festival, Makers Market, Season on Sustainability, and monthly meetups for local entrepreneurs, women-led businesses, and people in the creative industries.
Patch’s innovative workspaces provide greater flexibility to those needing to work remotely, particularly for those with childcare costs, health needs or caring responsibilities. 60% of Patch’s current members are parents, and four in five are under the age of 44. The workspaces aim to enable people to access the benefits of coworking, without the costly out-of-area commute and to simultaneously connect them with their community and high street.