Four new work hubs in Devon

Four new work hubs are being established across Devon with new funding announced for Devon County Council’s award-winning scheme.

The County Council has successfully bid for £640,000 from the Heart of the South West LEP to provide new workspace in some of the local economies hardest hit during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

New work hubs will be created in Great Torrington, Newton Abbot, and Teignmouth, while the existing hub in Tavistock will also be expanded.

The expansion of the work hub network will provide an additional 570 square metres of co-working and office space in the county.

Photo of Councillor Rufus Gilbert

Councillor Rufus Gilbert

Councillor Rufus Gilbert, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Economy and Skills, said: “Our network of work hubs is already extremely successful in providing start-up firms and small businesses with a location to be able to put down roots and grow, and we’re pleased to receive this vital support from the LEP’s Getting Building Fund to help expand this network. Devon’s work hubs can play an important role in supporting local communities and stimulating the local economy as we look towards a strong recovery from the pandemic.”

Logo of Heart of the South West LEPKarl Tucker, Chair of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “The HotSW LEP’s Getting Building Fund aims to support shovel-ready projects that will help to create new jobs and contribute to our area’s post-COVID recovery. We are pleased to have agreed £640k from the fund to support the Devon Work Hubs project. These work hubs provide valuable and flexible space that is ideal for small businesses, helping give them the right environment and facilities in which to build and grow.”

Councillor Phil Bullivant, County Councillor for Newton Abbot North, said: “It’s vital that we rebuild our local economy. This investment in our area is an important first step and will help small and embryo businesses develop and grow. Having flexible and versatile spaces available as needed is an important stepping stone to future growth and the creation of local jobs.”

Councillor Debo Sellis, County Councillor for Tavistock, said: “I’m pleased that the Tavistock Enterprise Hub is expanding into the adjacent disused building. I have actively supported over many years for this area to be used for the betterment of our town centre, and residents will be delighted to see the building being used, particularly as it will be helping local, small businesses.”

Councillor David Cox, County Councillor for Teignmouth, said: “The work hub is a very welcome resource for Teignmouth, I’m delighted it fits in with the town council’s priorities for the town. I’m very pleased the currently underused Library ground floor will get a really useful purpose.”

Councillor Andrew Saywell, Devon County Councillor for Torrington Rural, said: “I am delighted we have secured funding for a new work hub at Great Torrington. It is great that we are now seeing these Hubs becoming available in more rural market towns like Torrington and these facilities will help a great deal in rebuilding our local economy as we recover from the pandemic. With more people working from home likely even after normality returns, these facilities will be an asset to local businesses, workers and entrepreneurs and will help to attract high quality jobs and businesses to our rural areas.”

Work hubs provide flexible-term, value for money office space, equipped with modern facilities. They are ideal for small businesses that may have started from home but are looking to grow into larger accommodation.

The Devon Work Hubs project received the Federation of Small Businesses award for ‘Best provision of small business offices for upscale and growing businesses’ in 2018.

Clay Factory – FREE Coworking Days in September!

To celebrate the launch of the Redpod Work Hub @ The Clay Factory. They have organised a series of ‘Try Before You Buy’ days every Monday in September.  It’s a chance to jump in their work hub and use their facilities completely free of charge.  Tickets are limited to one per person but feel free to book in on the Eventbrite link below and see what they are all about.

The Clay Factory would love to see you there!

Devon Work Hubs wins prestigious business award

Devon County Council has been recognised for its work to help small businesses across the region flourish.

Devon Work Hubs, the council’s network of business work spaces, scooped the ‘Best provision of small business offices for upscale and growing businesses’ award at the recent Federation of Small Businesses Awards.

Councillor Rufus Gilbert, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy and Skills, said:
“Advancements in technology, rising transport costs and quality of life factors are changing the way people work.
“Here in Devon, around 20 percent of workers are now based at home, some of them running small businesses that started from spare rooms and kitchen tables.
“These businesses are really important in helping maintain and grow our successful and sustainable local economy, and we want to help them thrive
“Often the initial move into office accommodation is difficult because they cannot afford to be tied down to a long-term contract, but Devon Work Hubs offer an attractive solution. Run by local business people, they provide inexpensive, flexible term office space, equipped with facilities that modern businesses need to grow, network and collaborate alongside like-minded people.
“Our existing hubs are seeing plenty of start-up businesses, who come to them with just a handful of staff, outgrow the work hub accommodation as they take on more employees and require larger work premises, which is excellent.
“This success means we are now working on expanding the network and recently invited organisations to bid for capital grants of up to £20,000 to support the creation of work hubs in new locations across Devon.
“I am pleased that this award recognises our commitment to supporting small businesses and encouraging them to grow and prosper in Devon.”

Amelia Isaac of the Design Shop also runs Barnstaple’s Work Hub. She said:
“The hubs are providing work spaces with meeting rooms for the day, but added to that is the enormous benefit that workers experience in meeting, chatting and swapping ideas with other business people working from the hub.
“There’s nothing better than seeing a new business come to us and within a few years they’re moving on as they require larger premises and take on more employees. And they make room for another worker coming in and we see that person’s business grow too. It’s good to have played a part in that growth.”

Local firm Ewemove Barnstaple is a hybrid estate agency that sells and manages properties across North Devon. Ewemove’s Branch Director, Russell Burrington, said:
“Having started the business working from home in our spare bedroom, moving to Barnstaple Work Hub just over 12 months ago has allowed my business to flourish and I am now at the stage where I am looking to expand my workforce and upsize my office space. Not only has it given my company a more professional look but I have made some excellent connections here and it is a vibrant and busy place to work in.”

Autumn 2016 Funding




Thinking of converting idle space into a work hub? Like the idea of bringing new people and energy together? And generate some extra revenue?

Apply for Work Hub Funding

For more information click here.

Applicants must register their intention to bid by 5pm on Friday 30th September 2016 (by emailing: The deadline for completed applications is 5pm on Friday 21st October 2016.

Blog: Working from home, the work hub, or the office?

Today is #NationalWorkFromHomeDay. It’s a Work Wise UK initiative “to promote modern ‘smarter’ working practices such as agile, flexible, remote and mobile working, as well as working from home”. They argue that the UK needs to work smarter:

“Changing outdated working practices and implementing a Smarter Working strategy provides a real opportunity for Employers to build and retain skills, to give serious thought to the dilemmas of youth unemployment and an aging population and to then set the road map for real work force transformation, creating benefits for our workplace and society.”

While it might seem counter intuitive for Devon Work Hubs to promote a day for homeworking, their focus on smarter flexible working is closely aligned with our ethos. Devon Work Hubs was developed to offer the people of Devon “an office when needed”. In Devon it is estimated that there are 86,000 home-based workers, many of whom experience the downsides of homeworking as well as the positives.

On this day to celebrate working from home, a lot of people have been sharing a 2010 article by Edward Collier, in which he argues that “It’s time to stop the schlep to work” . He points out that teleworking has never been easier thanks to the increasing availability of fast internet connection from home and the willingness of managers to see homeworking as a solution to tight budgets and limited space. Despite the increasing opportunity for many to work from home, the pitfalls of working exclusively from home remain and are increased if you are self-employed. While getting out of the overcrowded office was the priority of 2010, in 2015 89% of businesses in the South West were micro businesses. These businesses have differnent challenges and a significant proportion of these businesses are based in homes.

Melissa Talago, founder of Campfire Communications, told the Guardian “I felt really frazzled amid the clutter so in a fit of pique I dismantled the spare bed and claimed the guest room as Campfire Communications”. For her the solution to homeworking chaos was to create a space within her home just for working, but many just don’t have that option.

There is an increasing understanding that not only does your space impact your productivity, but that what works best one day might not be what is best the next day. Suzanne Bearne compared different locations to work, trying out a coffee shop, a work hub, a private club, a landmark and her own flat. Each had their own benefits and distractions, and it is clear that she has worked out which spaces are suited to her different styles of working.

So if you love the flexibility of working from home, but yearn for some company, some structure or maybe just faster broadband, the answer could be a flexible hot desk at a Devon Work Hub. All our work hubs offer flexible desks and offices as and when required, and there is no need for a long-term commitment. Find out where your nearest hub is here.


Thanks to @sblandfo for the image!


Blog: How far would you travel for coworking?

One of the best things about using a work hub is the flexibility. This means different things to different people, for some it’s the flexibility to work at a time that suits them, to use the facilities of an office only when needed or to work in an environment that suits their way of working.

The increasing availability of coworking retreats is an example of not only the spread of work hubs globally, but also suggests that the space in which we work in impacts how we work. A coworking retreat offers an immersive experience, and they are often marketed towards start ups.

Startup Basecamp has locations in San Francisco, Montreal and Brussels with more on the way. Here you can combine coworking with coliving, and they boast that you can “Hit the office as soon as you wake up”. Coworking giant WeWork recently opened 45 apartments in the same building as one of their hubs. There is a risk however that in this kind of environments, sleep will take a back seat, James Routeledge argued that ‘”Sleep faster” culture puts  entrepreneurs’ mental health at risk’.

This combination of a working and living space doesn’t seem strange to anyone who has ever worked from home, but the key difference is being surrounded by other workers and other small businesses. Perhaps it is that difference that is leading to significant investments into coliving spaces. The Harvard Business Review argued that people thrive in Coworking spaces because “Working amidst people doing different kinds of work can also make one’s own work identity stronger”.

Capture The works torbay But is there a way to get the benefits of a coworking retreat without the bed-to-office intensity and without the package deal? I would say absolutely! Devon is a hugely popular destination for tourists, with great travel links and a wide variety of options for accommodation. There are Devon work hubs in a number of beautiful market and coastal towns, with more opening soon. Each hub offers flexible memberships and daily hot-desking, as well as free coffee and wifi. Just look at this view from @theworkstorbay and tell me that’s not inspiring.

Maybe a trip to Devon, and a Devon Work Hub, would make all the difference to your business.

Image credits: Visit Devon and  The Works Torbay