This is what happened in early Summer, 2018. It’s where we started, and where we got the confidence to develop our ideas now:
What if... Bearwood had a co-working space where you could get away from your solitary desk at home when you fancy some company? ...Where you could drop in to do your day's work instead of drive to your city office or shave an hour or two off your train commute? ...Where you could work and share ideas alongside people in different industries or sectors. ...Where you have the opportunity to meet people local to where you live, potentially enhance your social life and still get your work done?
In May and June 2018 we set up camp at Lightwoods House in Bearwood to play around with the idea of a co-working space, with associated creche for those who are parents of young children, and to invite fellow local people to help us create it. Would anyone book on, we asked? What kind of space would we need? How do we help people connect with each other? How do we provide good coffee? How can we spark ideas for more collaboration in our neighbourhood? If affordable co-working provision could provide a sustainable income, how else could we use the space for the benefit of everyone in our community?
This wasn't a pilot as such - we were not testing out the space (Lightwoods House) to use it in the long term, and we were only offering one morning a week. But we were testing the concept and asking the adults and children involved to help us understand what worked well or what might need to be different. We set up every Monday for four weeks and we always finished with lunch, inviting participants to share with us and each other what a more permanent collaborative space in Bearwood could be in the future - what the social benefits could be for participants and the wider community, and how it might be sustained through a non-profit model. The creche sold out in days, and the workspace didn't take much more marketing before we were full.
Over the next few weeks (August onwards) participants will write guest blogs to share how it worked for them, as part of our learning and reflection. For now, here are the details we shared about the temporary workspace:
For our very last pilot session we have been able to open up a few extra spaces for co-working this Monday, 11th June. Booking is essential via the button below. If you can't make the whole morning but you would still like to come and take a look, please feel free to turn up between 11.30 and 12.00 for a little intro to co-working and to see the kind of work environment we're testing out. Ultimately, we are exploring the potential for a community hub and workspace in Bearwood and we'd love to hear what you think about it. Come along, share your ideas about what’s important for a future permanent space for working and collaboration in Bearwood.
The workspace is temporarily on the first floor at Lightwoods House looking out onto the park with plenty of natural light and some creature comforts too (pastries for breakfast, anyone?). We'll provide a welcoming and professional place with desk space, WiFi, power for your laptop / phone and refreshments. You'll be able to work quietly, as well as connecting with others.
We invite you to come and work 10am until 1pm, and then to share lunch together until 2pm, to imagine what a permanent space might look and feel like in Bearwood and how else it could be developed as a venue and collaborative space, by and for Bearwood communities.
Pay as you feel. Suggested donation of £10 per 3 hour morning session. This will go towards the cost of the sessions, however cost should not prohibit anyone from being able to participate. Donations will be taken in cash on the day.
Places are strictly limited and booking is essential. We ask that if you need to cancel, you do so at least one week before your booking so that we can offer your space to someone else.
If you are wanting to book the workspace along with an additional creche facility, please book here.
Are minimum / maximum age requirements to sign up?
To sign up to work at the pop up workspace, you must be aged 18 or over.
What are my transport / parking options for getting to and from the event?
Many buses stop near Lightwoods House, on Bearwood Road and the Hagley Road (King's Head stops). There is a small free car park at Lightwoods House or a paid car park (low cost) where Adkins Lane joins Bearwood Road. There is local on-street parking, although parking spots do tend to get taken up quite quickly.