Press release from St Ives Enterprise Hub
Work is started on the conversion and revitalisation of the former Chellews Solicitors building by St Ives Workstation CIC as an enterprise hub to support sustainable development in the area by providing high quality, flexible workspace and collaborative facilities for business and community use.
The 1820 Grade II listed building, which has not been used for some years, was originally built as the home of the mine adventurer, solicitor, town clerk, and Member of Parliament for St Ives, James Halse.
The hub will focus on sustainability, particularly in the light of COVID-19 local experiences, by engaging young people, encouraging and supporting a mix of start-up, micro and SME businesses, co-working alongside those from a more established base. The current emergency has shown that we’re stronger together, and it’s hoped that by developing a shared vision for St Ives, we can help to ensure that joint efforts to recover from the impact of the pandemic will assist in moving towards a more resilient future.
As well as workspace and facilities for business, also on offer will be business advice, workshops and networking events for the local community, students, partners and members. The important historic features of the building will be painstakingly restored, whilst at the same time the spaces are being sensitively re-purposed for contemporary use, and to take advantage of the location and panoramic views of the bay, harbour and town from all four floors.
The Building will offer 5,400 square feet (500 square metres) of space for enterprise events, activities and training, as well as hot-desks, meeting facilities, enterprise project office, fixed desks and more permanent accommodation. Social and café space will be available for users, and the building includes a lift, making all the floors accessible for the first time; where possible, doors will be widened, steps removed, and counters installed at accessible heights, with accessible WCs on each floor to improve circulation throughout.
The project achieves low environmental impact, first in the ‘Retrofit First’ approach to repurposing an existing building, and once in operation, through low-carbon energy installations, upgraded thermal insulation, draught-proofing and secondary glazing. The interior design is informed by biophilic principles to enhance wellbeing throughout the interior environment.
Enabling works are already underway, and the main building contract is being tendered with a view to resuming work on site in the autumn and over the winter, before the opening of the building next year. Operational and business development staff and contracts will be progressed and appointed over the coming months.
St Ives Workstation CIC has been working closely with existing and new partners to help meet local needs identified and prioritised through consultation for the St Ives Neighbourhood and Local Economy Plans, both of which put support for a resilient, environmentally-led economy and actions at the heart. The intention is that by linking up local businesses and social enterprises with Project Office staff expertise and that of partners, the hub will help support a circular, living-wage economy, sustainable local jobs, training and start-up opportunities, and in time the development of new clusters and supply-chains.
CIC Chairman, Larry Magor, said:
“Work continues on this important new project to establish a centre of excellence for St Ives. We’ve consulted and thought carefully at every stage about how the hub can benefit a spectrum of business, from small independents, hoping to grow, people looking to go freelance or start a social enterprise, and young people wanting to access training and sustainable employment in their local community without having to leave the area. We want to support the investment of skills, finance, ideas and creative talent in the local economy. Over the next year, we’ll be running a series of pre-and post opening events with local entrepreneurs, educators and businesses to see how hub expertise can help develop ideas and job opportunities through co-working.
Through the combination of the new space and new services, we aim to assist our community and our partners with the focus for resilience, sustainability and innovation they requested, and so to support core local needs and campaigns.
Having been born and educated locally, and now living and working in the area, I know St Ives to be full of talented, creative entrepreneurs, and businesses which are very much at the leading edge.”
The hub is funded through a Coastal Communities Fund grant of £3.25m, which in turn will unlock further partnership investments in spoke initiatives for St Ives through enterprise funding.
Future opportunities to get involved in helping to shape the programme will be advertised through the website and social media pages currently in preparation, through local media coverage and at upcoming events.
Regarding potential partnership proposals, ideas or enquiries, please contact: Workstation.CIC@gmail.com