A hub of business activity comes to Totnes

Working on laptops

Posted on: 24 July 2012

Devon County Council has awarded funding to develop a new work hub in Totnes.

A £50,000 investment has been made in the town to develop a hub which will help people in the area work more flexibly, with funding from the County Council and the Department for Transport’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund.

South Devon Rural Housing Association has been awarded funding to help develop the Totnes Work Hub at South Devon House on Babbage Road; it will be holding an Open Day on Friday 3rd August after a major refurbishment programme.  The Open Day will showcase the new workspace, meeting rooms and office facilities on offer to local businesses, start-ups and home workers.

In addition to the funding, the work hub is also being supported by Devon County Council with marketing, space design and in due course a booking and membership system.

Work hubs make smart use of space, serving more businesses than a traditional office by allowing people to book a ‘hot desk’ closer to home as and when they need it. This offers a more flexible working pattern for people in rural areas and market towns, enhancing collaboration opportunities, staggering the rush hour and providing a better work-life balance.

Councillor Will Mumford, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Economy, Enterprise and Employment, said: “The provision of funding for this pilot project is an exciting development which signals the start of our network of Work Hubs across the county. We received four very strong submissions from projects in Totnes during a competitive process, the chosen location will be the flagship hub for Devon.

“We have always maintained that work hubs should be locally owned and operated, but it’s important that our grants can help make this innovative concept a reality. Establishing a network of Work Hubs will help Devon develop a competitive economy. Small businesses are an integral part of that and these flexible working spaces will enable them to flourish and grow.”

Steve Prime from SDRHA said, “South Devon Housing Association is delighted to have been selected to work with Devon County Council to provide the Totnes Work Hub. The association is keen to work with local home workers, co-workers, start up and small businesses in the local community, to provide a quality venue and resources from which to work and promote their businesses. It is poignant that we plan to use space in South Devon House, (formerly Autotrader House) to encourage employment and entrepreneurial business start ups.”

Councillor Paula Black, local County Councillor for Totnes Rural, said: “This is a great opportunity for Totnes, as a town we have always piloted new ideas and ways of working, this project will provide models of employment which will help drive forward a newer sustainable economy.  I look forward to its success.”

It is estimated that around 85,000 people (20% of the working age population) in Devon are home-based. Research commissioned by Devon County Council into the potential for Work Hubs revealed the greatest demand in Totnes, where 74 businesses expressed a strong interest.

The second round of work hub funding is now open for applications, with grants of up to £20,000 on offer to organisations wishing to develop their own work hub. Applicants must register their intention to apply for funding by 1700 on Monday 6th August, and full applications must be submitted by 1700 on Friday 28th September. Full details of the application process and an application form can be found on the Devon work hubs website: www.devonworkhubs.co.uk
 
www.totnesworkhub.co.uk

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