5 cool co-working spaces beyond Belfast

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  • Regardless of what line of work you are in, the same issue applies: working from home can be a silent and lonely affair.

    The number of professionals opting out of office space rental is growing – with the high expense of rental charges and the ‘on-the-move’ nature of work frequently to blame. Salespeople, startups, entrepreneurs, freelancers and growing numbers of free roaming SMEs speak of the missing camaraderie and easy-accessed resources guaranteed by an office (with large printers, computers and meeting rooms forming only a few examples).

    Co-working – the new way of working – offers some solutions to these problems: members of co working spaces report an increase in productivity, which has been attributed to sharing a work-place with other busy people. Indeed, Sync NI has been on the lookout for some of the best co-working spaces beyond Belfast.

    1. Magazine Studios, Derry/Londonderry

    Amongst the working spaces offered in Northern Ireland, Magazine Studios in the city of Derry/Londonderry presents itself as amongst the most reasonably priced premises on offer. Offering a membership-based collaborative work space specifically catered for digital media professionals and tech startups.

    The premises’ location in Derry/Londonderry’s Magazine Street make Magazine Studios an enviable location, in the heart of the city’s business hub. In a system which allows individuals to work alongside other like-minded professionals without breaking the bank. Uniquely positioned just a few miles from the Euro-zone and the benefits which come with it (including extensive cross-border collaborative projects and programmes), a location in Derry/Londonderry’s Magazine Studios also offers free broadband, a networked printer, locker storage, and last, but not least: tea and coffee making facilities.

    2. The Hub, Newry

    Offering a range of packages, The Hub in Newry presents enviable office space without the heavy expense. Providing a co-working space with permanent desks, hotdesks, private office hire and fashionable meeting rooms, The Hub has a tariff to support all budgets – whether you are a business owner, or a lone-wolf entrepreneur. Strategically placed only one hour away from both Belfast and Dublin, the choice of Newry as location is a no-brainer.

    Catering for “those who want to work for themselves, just not by themselves”, The Hub has picked up an impressive list of awards and clients. Strings to its bow include its reception of the 2015 Winner of Best Premises in the Greater Newry & Mourne Area Business Awards, as well as the 215 Gold Award from Green Tourism UK for sustainability & green ethics, as well as culture and community involvement. Aside from this, the office space provider picked up the 2016 Award for Best Startup Business Office & Workspace Provider by build magazine. With a number of clients including Ashview Consultants, Devlin Media and Capsure, The Hub is well deserved of its place on this list.

    3. Beresford Business Centre, Coleraine

    Offering a range of flexible, affordable, fully furnished offices, Beresford Business Centre in Coleraine remains to be one of the most popular co-working spaces in Northern Ireland. Meeting spaces, training rooms and hotdesks are available for freelancers, growing businesses and home workers.

    With all utilities and rates included, Beresford Business Centre offers a range of highlights including a PAYG Printer and free WiFi, as well as printing and scanning facilities – all without any up front capital costs. “Instead of signing years away, you can rent your office by the month,” say Beresford Business Park, who boast an easy in/out lease system – ideal for those who wish to upsize or downsize depending on their situation.

    4. Little Forest Studios, Lurgan

    Home to four creative companies, Little Forest Studios in Lurgan places professional accommodation at the heart of everything it does. The premises currently present themselves as a “one-stop shop for photography, film, graphic design, animation, app development and event management. Little Forest Studio’s lists of clients are impressive, and give some hint as to creative juices flowing throughout their coworking spaces: clients such as BNL Productions, Corepolo, Fraser Stewart Wedding Photography and Adam & Grace Photography.

    Free Wifi, free off-road parking and visual presentation facilities present Little Forest Studios as a tempting place to set up location. If that isn’t enough to win you over, the much-hyped Icthus Café is situated just below the offices: “bad news for the waistline, but great news for the tastebuds”.

    5. The ThinkWell, Rathfriland

    According to ThinkWell, their premises “aren’t just another ‘rent a desk’ type of place. Conceived as a hub to provide workspace, education, support, events and workshops to businesses in Rathfriland, ThinkWell offer a range of workspace offerings based upon the concept that “one size doesn’t fit all”, in the belief that barriers to entry simply shouldn’t exist. Studio, shared studio and office spaces are offered by a collaborative space for creative, freelance, independent and nomadic workers.

    Founded upon the triple principle of community, accessibility and sustainability, the ThinkWell Centre is proving itself to be an increasingly popular choice of location amongst Northern Ireland’s SME and tech startup community. For those looking for location outside the traditional hubs of Belfast and Derry/Londonderry, the premises of ThinkWell should come first on the list. “When ideas are free, everyone benefits. Therefore, we encourage open spaces and discussions,” say the team behind Rathfriland’s go-to location for shared working space.

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