Our vision of a community coworking space in Dunbar is step closer with an award of £8,640 from the Scottish Land Fund. We hope to buy the former housing office in Dunbar High Street from East Lothian Council to provide workspace, inspiration and support to freelancers, commuters, remote workers, artists, businesses, social enterprises and community groups in and around Dunbar and East Linton. What's more, if successful the project could add £800,000 a year to the local economy.
“The building has been standing empty for some time” explained Sustaining Dunbar’s development officer, Osbert Lancaster. “Until we know the full condition of the building and cost of remedial work and refurbishment, we don’t know if the project will be financially viable. This grant will let us engage an architect to assess the building and estimate the costs”.
“This is a significant step towards our vision of developing something really special in Dunbar” said Jo McNamara, chair of Sustaining Dunbar. “While creating more workspace is essential for the area, what’s truly exciting is the way coworking spaces like this can bring people together - to share ideas, to collaborate and to build a stronger community”.
“If we can make it happen, it should be a win - win all round” explained Osbert Lancaster, “Not only will it be great for the people using the coworking centre, it will bring more people and more trade to the High Street and boost the local economy. A study we commissioned suggests it will add between £600,000 and £800,000 to the area each year. And finally, profits from the operation will be invested in practical support for local community groups and social enterprises." The study was undertaken by MKA Economics and a copy of the report is available on request from Osbert Lancaster.
However, we are not sitting back while the research and planning goes on. “Even before we have a building ready, there is a great opportunity to bring together freelancers and other people who work from home,” says Osbert Lancaster. "We will soon be launching a series of events including “pop up” coworking, networking and skills sharing. Anyone interested can sign up as a supporter to hear about them first."