Wizards’ Day Out in London Impact Hubs
Last week some of the CambridgeSpace wizards and founders had a day out visiting some of the London-based Impact Hubs. Impact Hub is a global organisation of co-working and community spaces with over 80 locations. CambridgeSpace is looking (and is quite far down the process) to become an Impact Hub so was great to see how others work.
The first stop was in Impact Hub Brixton located in Brixton Pop development, an incredible urban area made almost entirely of shipping containers. Following a cup of coffee (and a very expensive vegan cookie!) we headed to the Impact Hub and were welcomed by the host for the morning Rachel who gave us a tour of the hub.
Given its makeup – metal boxes – it was surprisingly bright and airy. Three meeting rooms, a small kitchen, and lots of hot desking opportunities makes it a great space which has seen the membership grow to 130 since it opened its doors almost three years ago. They have a great line up of events to support their members and one in particular which supports the local community, their Open Project Night is a weekly evening co-working open to anyone in the local area with an idea or small business to come and discuss ideas and receive support.
Members and founders of Impact Hub Brixton support a lot their local community. One of the initiatives started from here is People’s Fridge which is always stocked up with surplus produce from local businesses and offers free food to everyone.
From Brixton, we headed to central London. Arriving at Trafalgar Square the vibe was already hugely different from South London. A particularly touristy area within which sits New Zealand House, home to the High Commission of New Zealand as well as the Westminster Impact Hub. One full floor, although one section has been rented out to a small charity, this hub had a different feel to it. Floor to ceiling windows off which came banks of busy desks. More people in that day than at Brixton gave the place a real buzz. Since the last visit they had introduced some cool glass box meeting rooms which definitely took our fancy – adds to the shopping list!
Open since 2011 the Westminster IH has a higher proportion of permanent Team Desks (rather than individual hot desks) but maintained the friendly, collaborative environment we have come to expect from co-working offices.
Last on our list, and with yet another individual personality, was the King’s Cross Impact Hub on York Way. Once home to a mechanics workshop this, the longest running IH of our day, is based over three floors and has the largest membership at 300+. The space also included three meeting rooms, a bar (with a proper coffee machine much to Dom’s approval!) and an amazing fit out which enabled banks of desks and chairs to be hung on walls and hidden in staircases, creating a large open space for events. We timed our visit just right as one of the members, Gelatology, began a tasting session as soon as we arrived – brioche and hazelnut gelato, don’t mind if I do!
All of the venues we visited open their meeting rooms and additional spaces for outside hire, although members get a discounted rate. They also all offer the opportunity to buy a day pass, and we recommend checking them out yourself when you get the chance. They also offer memberships where you can access a global pass which means you can visit every Impact Hub three days a year, every year which will be even more exciting when we become an Impact Hub ourselves in Cambridge.