The Skiff Coworking: The Journey So Far…

Wired Sussex is very proud to continue to support the Skiff coworking space as it moves to its new bigger, brighter home at 30 Cheapside in Brighton.

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The Skiff started in 2008 in a small basement in Brighton’s North Laine with space for a couple of dozen. It then moved to space for 80, then 150 and now its new home has capacity for around 240. It’s managed and owned by ourselves and Indua Community. That original small basement was Inuda’s idea. And we thought it was a really good one, which is why we have grown it together with them. We provided the initial resources, cash flow and a bit of credibility with landlords and, when Indua decamped to Chile for a year to help build Santiago’s digital cluster, we provided the day-to-day management too.

But the Skiff is very much a joint venture. In fact it’s more than a joint venture, it’s a community venture. The Skiff isn’t really a space, it’s a group of people who could work on their own, in their bedrooms and in coffee shops, but actually choose to work there because it delivers something more. It provides an environment where they can share their knowledge and expertise, share their challenges and hopefully solve them, and share their opportunities and hopefully benefit from them.

The second of the four Brighton Fuse research reports specifically focussed on the role of freelancers in our successful digital cluster. It found that they are a vitally important part of the ecosystem. They provide core expertise to companies when those companies don’t have the in-house skills they need to deliver projects and services. Many freelancers are actually micro businesses, with their own brands and international reach, or go on to move from freelancing to forming companies. We see that happen at the Skiff. Freelancing shouldn’t be seen as anyone’s second best option anymore. It is core to the success of our sector and our 10-year investment in the new Skiff space is an important part of Wired Sussex’s commitment to them.

Often freelancers get ignored in official narratives around skills and learning, but their ability to keep their skill set up-to-date is vital to them and their clients. This is another role the Skiff plays – every week it hosts professional learning and development events which are driven and organised by the Skiffmates themselves. It’s a great way to learn – from (and with) your peers.

The Skiff has just been named as one of the top coworking spaces in the UK. We are very proud of what we have helped this community accomplish and proud of the reputation it has, not just in Brighton but across the world.

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