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IPSE announces Coworking Space of the Year finalists

IPSE, the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed, is delighted to announce the 12 finalists for the Coworking Space of the Year at the IPSE Awards 2019.

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The winner will be announced at the IPSE Freelancer Awards ceremony at Kings’ Place in London this Thursday (13 June 2019).

The Awards, now in their sixth year, recognise and celebrate the innovation and excellence of freelancers and the organisations that support them across the UK.

As the number of freelancers has boomed in the last ten years, so too has the number of coworking spaces. They are vital links for many home workers, improving wellbeing, as well as acting as incubators for innovation and entrepreneurship.

The shortlisted spaces are:

  • Uncommon (London)
  • The Stable (North Somerset)
  • No8 Thorpe Road (Norwich)
  • Duke Studios (Leeds)
  • Central Working Victoria (London)
  • Scratch Hub, Battersea Arts Centre (London)
  • Brand Society (Newcastle Upon Tyne)
  • Devon Business & Education Centre (Devon)
  • IncubyteSpace (Cambridge)
  • Wizu (Leeds)
  • Co.LAB (Luton)
  • Avenue HQ (Leeds)

Chris Bryce, IPSE CEO, commented: “The boom in amazing co-working spaces made this a very difficult category to judge. The places shortlisted are all over the country and offer a fantastic range of opportunities and services, showing the incredible diversity in this sector.

“We know that using a co-working space can make a big difference to the wellbeing and productivity of a freelancer. They not only give freelancers a vital sense of community, but also access to training, support and colleagues to bounce ideas off.”

About the finalists:

The Stable (North Somerset)

The Stable, Somerset is home to digi, tech and creative entrepreneurs. It is a Community Interest Company that is on a mission to help ensure that every company, small or large, high-tech or not, can grasp the digital skills and opportunities available to them.

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Uncommon (London)

The ethos behind Uncommon is to promote a healthier way of working in an environment that encourages creativity as well as productivity. Uncommon Fulham draws its inspiration from Scandinavian design with a combination of rich textures and tonal colours to stimulate focus and maintain levels of calmness. The large windows draw in natural lighting and together with an abundance of indoor plants help to generate positive energy and increase alertness.

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Set over four floors totalling 26,000 sqft, the building is split into two. One side is dedicated to the café lounge and hot-desking space, which is set amongst a large three metre Ficus tree, to further enhance the biophilia benefits. The other side is for larger teams to create a home for their business, with spaces to suit groups of up to 150 people.

No8 Thorpe Road (Norwich)

No8 Thorpe Road is situated opposite Norwich Railway Station, a five storey Victorian terrace with a quirky modern interior. It hosts a number of hotdesks with standing desks and also offers fast wi-fi and locally roasted coffee. It also has five well equipped meeting/ training rooms which can seat 1-50 people No8 also benefits from exceptional environmental credentials which include it being solar powered.

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Duke Studios (Leeds)

Duke Studios is an open collaborative workspace in Leeds city centre set up exclusively for the creative industries. With a motto of people first, business second, it provides a range of workspaces, from co-working to a range of studios to support creatives at any level in their career.

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Illustrators, animators, software developers, graphic designers, photographers, architects and digital marketing sit side by side just a whisper away from the smallest of conversations to hatching their very biggest most exciting projects.

This environment is nurtured and supported further with free meeting rooms, pool bikes, industry led monthly meet ups and a colourful calendar of socials. The adjacent events space, bar and cafe in Sheaf St provide a very convenient temptation next door for inspiring talks, parties, drinks and gatherings.

Central Working Victoria (London)

Central Working Victoria offers a home for new business in the heart of London’s Belgravia. Alongside a variety of free-to-use meeting spaces, boardrooms, phone booths, and a members’ lounge, a state-of-the-art auditorium is available for free community use. This is often used to accommodate visiting lecturers from the tech and creative industries.

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Scratch Hub, Battersea Arts Centre (London)

Battersea Arts Centre opened its new co-working space the Scratch Hub in November 2018, offering a beautiful, flexible and supportive space for freelancers and small businesses to grow ideas in its historic Victorian Town Hall building.

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The Scratch Hub offers a range of affordable options, from flexible hotdesking to permanent stations. It is attracting a diverse community of entrepreneurs, with opportunities for sharing skills, exchanging feedback, sparking connections and collaborating. Other benefits include a programme of talks, workshops and a dedicated events space.

Brand Society (Newcastle Upon Tyne)

Brand Society is a community for brand owners and marketers that launched in October 2018. It is one of only a handful of co-working spaces currently in Newcastle. In the six months since opening, it has hosted 46 workshops and 67 meetings for 53 businesses. It has also hosted five events, welcomed over 260 individuals and opened its doors for filming on four occasions. That’s a lot of coffee, biscuits, beer and cocktails too. Especially for a little boutique co-working space.

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Brand Society members can use the space to share knowledge and insight within the community over great conversation, coffee and cocktails. As a knowledgeable and diverse group of brand owners and marketers – they inspire each other and help put ideas into action.

Devon Business & Education Centre (Devon)

Set in the rolling hills of the South West, Devon Business & Education Centre is an exquisite and inspiring space, a state-of-the-art bolt hole for co-workers to escape from nearby Exeter and Taunton. Highly connected, it is a sanctuary for collaboration and an antidote to social isolation.


Highly sustainable, it is a low carbon space, equipped with green roofs, outdoor meeting spaces, and vehicle charging points. Regardless of purpose, visitors, hotdeskers, co-workers, training delegates and networkers enjoy working in the space.

Incubyte (Cambridge)

Nestled in Silicon Fen, Incubyte provides entrepreneurs and early stage companies with private office space within a dedicated co-working environment. You can work alongside, and network with like-minded businesses in a relaxed and friendly environment.

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Office tenants and permanent hotdesk members receive complimentary membership to the onsite gym and spa facilities as well as a 10 per cent discount on food & drink from an onsite bistro. There is access to a meeting room kitted with a SitStand desk, the expected free parking, kitchenette facilities and access to electric vehicle charging pods. The space is also an incubator and accelerator giving technical start-ups the opportunity to succeed.

Wizu (Leeds)

Wizu create workspaces that result in exciting collaboration and help businesses to grow. Their goal is to put human factors at the heart of their thinking and create a community platform where members thrive. They look to remove the hassles and headaches of entrepreneurs by focusing on a simple, all-inclusive service.

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Wizu provide unlimited speciality coffee, business grade connectivity, meeting space and creative rooms. There is also access to a curated event series along with a dedicated support team who know everyone’s name. It has a central hub, spaces to meet, socialise and create.

Co.LAB (Luton)

Situated in a newly refurbished, double-fronted, Victorian building in the heart of Luton, Co.LAB affords easy access to its town centre and its strong transport links to major cities. Co.LAB is a collaborative business growth hub, which can help strengthen a company’s professional profile. It is a place where self-employed professionals can work to make a life, not just a living.

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Co.LAB was borne from the vision of three local business owners, who set out to create a quality co-working space designed with everything in mind for small business start-ups and for growth. It is equipped with all the amenities of a professional office; hotdesks, business addresses, networking expertise and office banter not to mention freshly brewed coffee and the odd sticky bun!

Avenue HQ (Leeds)

Avenue HQ was founded in 2016 in Liverpool and recently opened a second space in Leeds. They are a company that is evolving every day in response to their members and their constantly changing needs. Situated over five floors, the building has been designed with the whole business community in mind.

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There are over 200 workspaces and private offices of various sizes to suit business needs. The conference and meeting facilities provide the best place to host events, and on-site catering can meet all food and drink needs. There is also a spectacular roof terrace and an onsite bar and eatery, named East Parade Social.

Meet the author

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IPSE is the leading association for contractors, consultants, interims, freelancers and the self-employed. We strive to bring our members the most comprehensive and useful range of information and services and all the latest news about what affects your business.