A £199,000 scheme featuring eye-catching wooden ‘pod’ offices was launched at Wooler’s Cheviot centre this week to encourage local business start-ups.
Glendale Gateway Trust received the funds from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership to create and run the new Smart Work Hub for its first two years.
It has created three small offices for young businesses and businesses moving from home; three hot desks in an office that can be booked by private businesses, public services, or voluntary organisations; and three pod offices for start-up business.
The pods have already been let to a search engine optimisation marketing consultant, a social enterprise specialising in environmental education and an IT handyman.
Glendale Gateway Trust’s asset development manager Neil Wilson said: “We wanted to create something that was both inspiring and cheap to run and all three businesses involved have actually said this is a unique selling point for them – something really different but really useful and really well made.”
Established in 1996, the trust’s typical turnover is around £300,000 a year, but this year is likely to hit £450,000 because of significant grant funding from the public sector.
The £199,000 has also gone towards training rooms, multi-media facilities, broadband access and enterprise support. The project was initiated by Northumberland, Durham and Gateshead county councils.
Similar schemes will be developed across the region.