Worcester coworking space celebrates first birthday as sector fights for financial support

The Kiln, Worcester

A Worcester-based coworking space and community is celebrating its first birthday this week. Based in the centre of Worcester, The Kiln opened its doors in August last year to provide tech and creative entrepreneurs and small businesses with a place to work and collaborate.

The effect of Covid-19 has been particularly financially savage for some coworking spaces which are experiencing reduced income thanks to the requirements of social distancing, and in some cases pressure from landlords to keep up with lease payments.

The Kiln management team will be inviting past and present members and sponsors to join them for a Zoom conference call tomorrow, to thank them for their support over the past twelve months.  They will also thank everyone who has contributed to their fundraising efforts, which has seen The Kiln raise more than £540 to date for Worcestershire and Herefordshire charities, including the local branch of Parkinson’s UK, Age UK Herefordshire and Worcestershire, Megan Baker House, Headway Worcestershire, Creating Links, Worcestershire Breast Unit, and Onside Advocacy.

The Kiln WorcesterAlex Brookes, The Kiln Centre Manager, said: “It has been a strange few months but we are delighted to be open again and in time to celebrate our first birthday. We’ll be inviting past, present and future members to raise a glass to The Kiln on 5th August.”

Coworking spaces do not currently receive business rates relief and most are ineligible for emergency funding. However, a lobbying campaign by the UK Coworking Assembly, #SaveOurLocalCoworking, is underway to secure economic relief for hundreds of independent coworking hubs across the country.

“We’d like to thank everyone who has supported The Kiln, over the last year, and in the run up to our opening day last August, and we look forward to another exciting year of supporting the talented people of Worcestershire to share their inspiration and grow their great ideas.”

Prior to the Covid-19 lockdown in March this year, The Kiln had grown to a community of 45 members, many who have paused their membership and are hoping to rejoin in the coming months. The Kiln reopened following lockdown in early July and has put strict measures in place to help prevent the spread of the virus, including keeping desks well spaced apart, providing each desk with antibacterial gel and spray and only using the larger meeting rooms, where social distancing can be observed.

The Kiln is a collaborative community, bringing together local entrepreneurs, freelancers and remote workers in a friendly co-working space at the Old Police Station on Copenhagen Street. Founded by Greg Smith and Hamish Gill of visual identity agency, F8 Creates, it is the first of its kind in the city.

The modern and practical space provides free, super-fast Wi-Fi, hot desking for more than sixty people, a range of meeting rooms and event space. The concept of The Kiln is to bring together Worcestershire talent in one place and encourage professionals to share ideas and network with like minded people.