Frequently asked questions
When will Coworking Dunbar open?
If everything runs smoothly we could be opening in 2019. But it's a big project and things may change.
However, we will be organising events and possibly pop-up coworking opportunities before we open. To make sure you hear about them, leave your details when you complete our survey at the bottom of this page.
What will the prices be?
We haven't fixed prices yet, but they will be in line with market rates for similar facilities and services.
How will Coworking Dunbar be funded?
We plan to raise a mixture of grants and loans to buy and develop the building. Coworking Dunbar will be run commercially, generating income from member fees and rents. As a social enterprise, any surplus will be invested in projects to benefit the community.
Why this building?
We have identified the former housing office as our preferred option after a thorough search. This is the only property that is the right size for the venture and located near or on the High Street. We believe such a location is important to deliver the benefits to the local economy and to make it attractive to coworkers.
Aren't there problems with the building?
We know the building requires action to address a structural problem. Initial reports from our structural engineer indicate this is likely to be manageable within our business plan. There is a small amount of asbestos, but the specialists' reports suggest it should be fairly manageable. We will commission architects to lead an architectural feasibility study and provide full costings before we proceed with the project.
Will the council sell property?
We have started discussions with East Lothian Council about buying the property. We understand the property is surplus to requirements and if we are able to buy it, it would be inline with the Council's policy of seeing surplus premises used to create work space.
Will Coworking Dunbar take custom away from other businesses renting desk-space or offices?
We think this is very unlikely.
Firstly, we believe that the overwhelming majority of our members will currently work from home or from their employers’ office. For this segment of the market our main competitors will therefore be other coworking spaces, rather than traditional offices. We have spoken with the Lighthouse, a new coworking space in North Berwick, and we agree there is enough room in the market for both of us - especially as research shows most coworkers prefer to use spaces close to their home.
What about car parking?
Car parking in the area on and near the High Street is limited. However, we anticipate the coworking centre’s impact will be minimal. The majority of members will come from Dunbar and we will strongly encourage people to walk and cycle to the centre which will have showers and secure cycle parking. We plan to negotiate discounted rates for members to use the car club vehicles located at nearby Bleachingfield. The coworking centre will not be suitable for businesses that have frequent clients visiting the premises.
What about broadband?
Superfast broadband will be essential. While fibre has been rolled out in the area, demand currently outstrips capacity. However, extra capacity is planned. In case capacity has not been increased in time for opening we are exploring alternative solutions.
How does this help the environment?
Enabling more people to work locally rather than commuting long distances will reduce congestion, improve air quality and reduce carbon emissions. This will make the roads safer for everyone, improve people's health, protect our natural environment, and help tackle climate change.
When we repair and refurbish the building, and fit it out with furniture etc, we will use reclaimed, recycled and environmentally friendly materials wherever possible.
What is "coworking"?
Coworking centres are membership-based workspaces where diverse groups of freelancers, remote workers and other independent professionals work together in a shared, communal setting. Members have access to shared resources such as reception services, broadband, meeting rooms, studios and copiers. Members may work from the centre full or part-time, or just use meeting rooms from time to time. Others might only attend events and trainings.
While this basic infrastructure is essential to do business, what makes coworking spaces different from a shared, serviced office, is a sense of community and a culture of mutual support and collaboration. These intangible benefits are the primary reason people choose to join a coworking space rather than working from home or a traditional office.
Is coworking a new thing?
Coworking is a new concept for many people even though coworking is popular worldwide. The number of coworking spaces has grown in two years from 8,900 in 2015 to 15,500 in 2017. Scotland’s first coworking space opened in 2007 and there are now over 40 across Scotland. There is trend for coworking spaces in smaller towns with operations opened or planned in Dumbarton, Forres, Kinross, Kirkcaldy, Linlithgow, North Berwick and Rosyth.
Is coworking a franchise?
No. Coworking is a general term that describes a style of workspace. There are literally thousands of coworking spaces around the world and they each have a different style, focus and range of services. Some are very corporate, others are laid back, some only have members from one industry, say IT, while others are open to all.
Can't you think of a better name than Coworking Dunbar?
Not yet, we're using it a working title for now. If you've got a better suggestion please let us know! (Sensible ones, not Coworky McCoworkface.)