European Coworking Day: Development on estate highlights model that could be rolled out in town centres across the region
The creation of a coworking hub on Dumfries’ Crichton Estate could demonstrate the art of the possible for communities across Scotland, experts say.
The model of flexible space where people gather to work and collaborate is one that could be repeated in all sizes of communities throughout the country.
Crichton Central opened in the aftermath of Covid-19 lockdowns, with the space available for both tenants on the estate and others.
And the team behind it say that it is working well – providing space for people not just to meet others, but share ideas, form business connections and boost the local economy.
Its work is being highlighted today as part of European Coworking Day, which is spotlighting the social and economic worth of coworking to the Scottish economy..
Michaela Bitsanis is part of the team from The Crichton Trust which operates Crichton Central.
She said: “At The Crichton we want to cultivate a community and create networks which give that community the opportunity to flourish. We already see it’s happening and it’s exciting. To see all of that occurring in one space is pretty special and it’s a great asset to add to The Crichton Trust’s portfolio.
“The ethos of Crichton Central Co Working undoubtedly helps people make these connections. It’s interesting to see how people and businesses of all kinds learn from each other.”
The aim at Crichton Central is to offer a coworking space for collaborators, mobile workers, home workers, entrepreneurs and innovative thinkers.
As part of European Coworking Day, The Melting Pot – a national trailblazer for coworking – and Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP) are highlighting the huge potential that exists for communities if they can become home to hubs like that found at The Crichton.
Claire Carpenter is founder and executive director of social innovation at The Melting Pot in Edinburgh, which is Scotland’s Centre for Social Innovation.
She said: “The potential for more coworking across Dumfries and Galloway – and the benefits that will bring for people and the local economy – is huge.
“Coworking hubs provide the best of both worlds – somewhere close to home where they can work, but enjoy the huge benefits of being part of a workplace community. The demand for spaces is rising.
“For the places these are located, the ripple effects can be great. Not only do the hubs themselves take space in a town – or even a village – but we know that people who visit them spend with other local businesses. And we need that footfall in our town centres. A growing coworking network does exactly that.”
It is widely accepted across Europe that coworkers spend about £9 a day with other businesses in their local economy when at their coworking hub.
Kimberley Guthrie, STP’s interim chief officer, said: “Coworking offers opportunities for those involved to collaborate with and support other local businesses of all kinds, creating powerful regional ecosystems and economies.
“Reduced travel helps the journey towards net zero and cuts costs, easing cost of living pressures – not to mention protecting local jobs and creating another use for town centre buildings, keeping communities busy, vibrant and successful.”