What if we could...
- Link a struggling charity with the expertise required to help them thrive?
- Help a new business get the best start by providing access to support and knowledge?
- Link a young person looking for work experience with a retiree keen to share their expertise?
- Help someone struggling to find work to gain skills, knowledge and connections to enable them to succeed?
- Quit commuting and work in a supportive environment - cutting our carbon footprint and increasing quality time with our families?
EH49 Hub could achieve all of this!
How can you help?
This Crowdfunding appeal aims to cover some of the initial costs of building the EH49 Hub while we work to secure funding for our full-scale central Linlithgow venue. It will cover;
- Purchase and implementation of software to manage bookings and enable members to connect.
- Staff capacity to open a second day of co-working at the repurposed Star and Garter cafe.
- A series of learning and networking events for both community and business members.
Any amount you can contribute would be very much appreciated!
More about the EH49 Hub
Linlithgow currently has;
- A high proportion of home-workers
- A great number of solo-entrepreneurs and new business start-ups
- An absolute wealth of knowledge and experience amongst both the working and retired community
- Over 150 independent active community groups
- A vast number of volunteers all eager to help causes both within and out-with Linlithgow
However, the majority of the above are working in isolation with no central way of connecting and sharing information. They are shouldering the burden of amenities and resources on their own, whilst missing out on the benefits of interaction with others. Opportunities for cross-fertilisation of knowledge and ideas, for collaboration and innovation are missed because there is no easy way of centrally connecting people.
The concept of creating a community hub in Linlithgow has been around for while. Several community groups have been keen on the idea, but haven’t had the capacity to take the idea forward. In 2016 the Linlithgow Community Development Trust (LCDT) was the lucky recipient of the Scottish Government’s Strengthening Communities Grant, which enabled them to take on two part-time Development Workers, Pamela Barnes, and Rebecca Holmes. Pamela and Rebecca are tasked with progressing community projects that strengthen community resilience and provide community benefit. Rebecca was tasked with taking forward the EH49 Hub project in collaboration with Transition Linlithgow and the Linlithgow Business Association.
The mission is to create an online network and physical space that connects local community and business people in order to bolster each and create social change. We want to blur the lines between business and community, focussing instead on encouraging people to work smarter, together, and support each other to achieve.
Our objective is to create space for;
- Developing community and business connections
- Growing local resilience and sustainability
- Sharing resources and knowledge
- Supporting enterprise and innovation
The first phase of the project was to start developing opportunities for networking and collaboration. The very successful bi-monthly Community Cake events have allowed local community groups to come together, share ideas, and find ways to collaborate and help each other succeed. Topics so far have included Recruiting and Retaining volunteers, and Funding. In addition, Rebecca has been working with the Linlithgow Academy to find ways to link local young people with local community groups – providing opportunities for learning, work experience and volunteering.
One of the key elements of the Hub is co-working.
This is primarily for businesses, but in future this will be opened to Community Groups as well. This started with several ‘pop-up’ co-working days at The Old Pavilion, and has now moved to weekly co-working days at the repurposed Star and Garter Café.
The international co-working movement is growing at an incredible rate, with more and more people choosing to work in a co-working space than in isolation. The number of co-working spaces worldwide has doubled year on year, since 2006. Those who co-work report increased productivity, increased income, reduction in isolation and a more satisfying home life without long commute times. Co-working is especially beneficial for reducing our Carbon Footprint, by cutting down commuting, and reducing the number of solo-workers heating their homes all day.
Scotland is home to one of world’s premier co-working spaces, The Melting Pot in Edinburgh. The EH49 Hub is very lucky to be working through their Co-working Accelerator programme, subsidised by the Scottish Government. This programme will help the EH49 Hub to ‘hit the ground running’ by providing a quality co-working service for members from the outset.
The weekly co-working space at the Star and Garter has gathered a lot of attention and had some fantastic feedback. Very soon we will be opening an additional day in order to cope with demand.
‘EH49 Hub provides me with a space where I can meet new people, ask for help with my ideas and help others with their ideas. I love the collaborative atmosphere. Best of all, I get loads of work done because I’m away from domestic distractions.’
Joanna Whittington, Lothian Change Management
Creating a full-scale social enterprise in central Linlithgow
Next for the Hub is securing funding to open a full-scale social enterprise facility in central Linlithgow, close to the train station and parking. A social enterprise is a business in which profits are reinvested back into the local community. This facility will boast 40 desks, at least three meeting rooms and one board room, café, child-care facility, copy/print services, breakout areas and much more. Several ‘hosts’ will look after the facility ensuring all users get the best out of what the space has to offer.
Reaching out, sharing our knowledge with others
Once this is up and running and sustainable, we will leverage what we’ve created to; help ‘incubate’ new initiatives – both commercial and charitable; to provide access to services to community groups; and to outreach into the wider West Lothian area. Linlithgow is a hive of knowledge and goodwill, ripe to help struggling areas to thrive.
The proposed project phases