Lighthouse Sidmouth business hub to shine a light on entrepreneurial community

PUBLISHED: 17:01 11 January 2019 | UPDATED: 09:02 14 January 2019

Cathy Debenham and Louise Thompson of Lighthouse Sidmouth CIC. Ref shs 43 18TI 3800. Picture: Terry Ife

Cathy Debenham and Louise Thompson of Lighthouse Sidmouth CIC. Ref shs 43 18TI 3800. Picture: Terry Ife

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A new social workspace aimed at making the Sid Valley’s home workers ‘visible’ launches this week.

The space at 44 Mill Street with Louise and Cathy which has been set up so that business people can work and socialise. Picture: Simon TuttyThe space at 44 Mill Street with Louise and Cathy which has been set up so that business people can work and socialise. Picture: Simon Tutty

Cathy Debenham and Louise Thompson co-founded The Lighthouse as a way to bring self-employed businesses together.

They launched the community interest company on Thursday and have planned two open days to showcase to potential users how they can benefit from the space.

The idea started after Cathy wrote a letter to the Herald as she felt the town needed a space for others like her without incurring huge costs.

Louise replied to the letter and the pair spent a year finding premise before signing the lease on an old garage on 44 Mill Street,behind the former NatWest bank.

Cathy Debenham co-founded Lighthouse Sidmouth with Louise Thompson. Picture: Simon TuttyCathy Debenham co-founded Lighthouse Sidmouth with Louise Thompson. Picture: Simon Tutty

The full-time life coach and writer works from home and leads online coaching programmes with clients around the world.

She moved back to the Sid Valley from New Zealand, where she saw many successful work spaces providing a place to socialise and share ideas.

Louise said: “It is a lot more than just a space. There is nothing like this in all of the Sid Valley, it’s a connection and community, as well as a place to work.

“Because it’s not for profit, the profits will be reinvested.

The space at 44 Mill Street which has been set up so that business people can work and socialise. Picture: Simon TuttyThe space at 44 Mill Street which has been set up so that business people can work and socialise. Picture: Simon Tutty

“It’s a building for the community and a community project on a professional level.”

Cathy added: “It’s about doing business with each other and sharing our skills and generally being more productive. People have lots of skills but not always the confidence to talk about them.”

The pair, who have continued to work full time while developing the hub and plan to hold socials, workshops and rent the space for evening and weekend events.

The open days will be held on Monday (January 14) and Tuesday, January 22.

Louise Thompson co-founder of Lighthouse Sidmouth CIC. Picture: Simon TuttyLouise Thompson co-founder of Lighthouse Sidmouth CIC. Picture: Simon Tutty

The Lighthouse Sidmouth offers three subscriptions, based on the number of hours or for social use only.

The pair thanked project manager Geoff Gwyther, Devon County Council and a number of businesses and individuals for their help and support with the refurbishment.

To find out more visit the website thelighthousesidmouth.org or look at the Facebook page The Lighthouse Sidmouth.

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