Creating Inspiring Workspaces in the Rural Vale

Creative Rural Communities is exploring opportunities for bringing redundant and underused buildings back into to create vibrant workspaces as well as working with small businesses to identify their accommodation needs.


There is a real enthusiasm in the rural Vale to create more varied and flexible office / coworking workspaces or workshops.


Small businesses have contacted us to identify their workspace needs.  Many would be interested in finding appropriate flexible and reasonably priced accommodation with superfast broadband in the rural Vale. Owners of underused / redundant buildings have equally identified their interest in converting their buildings for business purposes, however many would like to find out more about similar developments, as well as getting legal, planning and business advice.


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Inspiring Workspaces Network 

A network has been set up to bring together people who are looking for new workspace with people who have redundant or underused spaces they are looking to bring back into use to inspire them into taking action to create new workspaces in the rural Vale.

redundant rural buildings-workspace-egs-Tec Marina

Inspiring New Workspaces Network Event 2

A second Networking Event was held in July 2018 at Llantwit Major Youth Centre.


A successful networking event with Mark Hooper, from Indycube, speaking about its development over the last 8½ years. Indycube coworking spaces are located across Wales including Barry, Cardiff, Swansea, Wrexham, Bangor  as well as England including London and Wakefield. He explained about the 2 models of managing the space:

  • Full management of the space which involves Indycube taking on the long term lease of the premises and pay all the bills etc. and open up to co-workers
  • Management of co-working space where the building owner will only get paid if there is someone sitting in the desk.  Indycube will have the responsibility for managing bookings and will send the person responsible for the building details of who has booked into the space each week.  The owner of the building is responsible for all the bills.  This model has worked where a community centre / pub has had an underused spaces

There are various membership packages including membership of the Indycube Community Network, part time desks and full time desks. 


Being a member enables co-workers to be part of the Indycube Community Network which is a wider network of freelancers and independent workers enabling networking opportunities with like-minded individuals from across the UK as well as having access to the  Community Benefits Pack (in term of legal support, cash flow management and a host of business and leisure benefits).


redundant rural buildings-workspace-egs-rome old hall

Inspiring New Workspaces Network Event 1

An initial Network Event was held in January 2018 at St Donats Arts Centre. 


Films of Speakers at the Event

Marcus Goldsworthy – Head of Regeneration and Planning at the Vale of Glamorgan Council

Marcus discussed the opportunities for new workspaces in the rural vale and the details set out draft Conversion and Renovation of Rural Buildings Supplementary Planning Guidance.

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Gavin Eddy, Director of Forward Spaceand developed the Old Church School, in Frome.

Gavin spoke about how he transformed the redundant old church school into an award winning workspace for independent thinkers and creators.

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Sally Attwood, Public Health Wales (PHW)

Sally explained about PHW’s ‘Our Space Project’which transformed an empty office unit into an attractive, vibrant workspace in the centre of Cardiff.

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Chris Griffiths, founder and CEO Open Genius and founder of Tec Marina, Penarth

Chris founded the serviced office space in Penarth marina to foster true creativity and entrepreneurship and enable companies to collaborate and innovate.

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Exploring Innovative Workspaces

To enable those coming to the networking to learn more a series of study visit were organised focusing on different ways of creating inspiring rural workspaces.

old church school - study visit

Pioneering office space in rural Wiltshire and Somerset

A group was taken on 19th June 2018 a study visit on to learn about the economics of rural workspaces :

  •  Glove Factory Studios, Holt, Wiltshire  - The studios has Glove Factory Studios has a range of desk spaces, individual offices and communal areas (breakout sofa area, courtyard and the Field Kitchen) set in 32 acres of pasture with two landscaped lakes with a dog walking area and ample parking.  
  • The Old Church School, Frome, Somerset – The Old Church School is a shared workspace which encourages collaborative working and creates an effective internal market – 70% of businesses are working together.  The space includes - coworking desk space (25%) and studio offices (75%), a café, meetings rooms, outdoor seating area, toilets / shower and limited parking.
community venues Xcel project

Vibrant Community Venue in Carmarthenshire

A group was taken on a study visit on 25th October 2018 to rural Carmarthenshire to visit form redundant buildings that had been developed into successful community hubs:

rural workspaces - Craft Renaissance

Rural Workspaces in Monmouthshire

A group was taken on a study visist on 8th November 2018 to visit former farm buildings / barns which had been converted into workshops for businesses:


For further information about the findings and learning from the project, refer to:


The Inspiring New Workspaces Report