New work hub to open in Sidmouth

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

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

Home workers will soon be able to share their workspace and ideas at a new hub launching in Sidmouth.

Cathy Debenham and Louise Thompson have signed the lease to start up The Lighthouse Sidmouth CIC, a ‘community interest company’ aimed at self-employed businesses together.

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

Cathy, who runs Bike Guide Devon, went self employed 15 years ago but said a disadvantage of working from home was isolation and that having a space with desks would give home workers an opportunity to collaborate, share ideas and develop their skills.

She said: “No-one really phones each other anymore, we talk over email. It’s not only lonely, it makes you much less productive. I find that when a problem is going round my head and I’m thinking it just goes round and round, when I am with someone else and articulate it out loud it turns into something much better.

“More than a year ago now I wrote a letter to the Sidmouth Herald saying I am fed up working at my desk. I don’t want to go into Exeter every day. There are lots of workspaces there but that takes a lot of time. It’s actually quite expensive.”

Louise replied to her letter and the pair spent a year finding premises.

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Earlier this month they signed the lease on 44 Mill Street, behind the former NatWest bank.

The pair hope the Lighthouse will open before the end of 2018 and will offer two types of membership as well as different social activities.

Cathy said: “I think one of the benefits is increased productivity because there are going to be a whole range of skills in the room, there is going to be someone you can ask if you need help in a particular area. One of the downsides of being self employed is there is no-one necessarily there for you to ask you are expected to have all the skills yourself.

“Collaborating and idea sharing and peer to peer support are all really helpful. They want to develop themselves, we will be getting members who can do workshops to share their expertise with other members.”

To find out more email or look at the Facebook page The Lighthouse Sidmouth shared workspace.