Minister Robert Troy TD opens coworx digital hub in Edgeworthstown
31 March 2022 By Leah Fairman
Successful sustainable repurposing of heritage-listed former bank building
The new digital hub co:worx Edgeworthstown in County Longford was today officially opened by Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, Robert Troy TD. The facility, which can cater for up to 38 remote workers and start-up entrepreneurs, is an ambitious project for rural Ireland that has been realised by a local community with the support of local and national co-funders. It is housed within a former bank building in the centre of the town, which is owned by Longford County Council.
The hub is now a fantastic addition to Longford and Ireland’s Connected Hubs network. co:worx will offer affordable workspaces with a mix of offices, dedicated desks, hot-desks, and meeting rooms in a very central location, easily accessed by rail and road. The facility also has an event space and a POD/VOD cast studio. A dedicated Business Manager has been appointed and will be available to support users with all their needs.
This volunteer-led project is funded through the Regional Enterprise Development Fund, the LEADER Programme, the Town and Village Renewal Scheme, the Built Heritage Investment Scheme, and the Connected Hubs Fund, through the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment; the Department of Rural and Community Development; the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and Longford County Council.
The origins of this project began pre-COVID-19. Now this facility opens its doors to a changed Irish society. The ‘Right to Request Remote Work Bill 2021’ is part of the government’s vision to make remote working a permanent feature of Ireland's workforce. The hub also demonstrates the vision of the transformational ‘Town Centre First’ policy and ‘Harnessing Digital’ - the Digital Ireland Framework.
co:worx is an excellent example of:
• voluntary groups collaborating with their local authority and state agencies to develop an ambitious plan for their town,
• breathing life back into a town centre by providing remote working infrastructure, and
• creating economic opportunities with the potential to sustain a rural town into the future.
The values of co:worx align towards a common goal, the economic development and sustainability and participation of rural areas in Europe’s future - building confidence and creating innovation.
An educational partnership with the Technological University of the Shannon (TUS) Learning Gate will also support the local community in accessing routes to higher education and connect local business with local talent. As a volunteer-led project, providing this type of access to the local community has been a key priority.
Officially opening the co:worx digital hub, Minister of State Robert Troy TD said, “I am delighted to officially open the new co:worx digital hub in Edgeworthstown today. The Hub is an example of one of the many innovative, vibrant, and sustainable hubs the Government is supporting in communities across the country. These hubs are an important resource that offer employees the chance to work closer to home while still benefitting from being in an office environment.
“co:worx will provide new workspaces through a combination of hot desks and discrete office formats. This will no doubt increase opportunities to do business, make connections and grow the local community in Edgeworthstown and indeed the surrounding areas. The Hub is an excellent example of what collaboration can achieve in a regional location and the invaluable work of voluntary groups, local authorities, and state agencies. I want to commend all who made today’s opening possible, particularly the local groups whose ambition and vision has been realised today and from whom I’m sure we’ll see more to come in the future.”
Attending the event, Stephen Carolan of Connected Hubs commented, “We are delighted to welcome the launch of co:worx Edgeworthstown. It is a great example of the growing Connected Hubs network around the country, and we congratulate everyone involved. We look forward to supporting the co:worx team through our Network and helping them provide vital coworking and start-up space.Longford County Council Cathaoirleach Cllr Peggy Nolan described the co:worx project as a fine example of what a town like Edgeworthstown can achieve in partnership with key local and national state agencies. “It just goes to show that the sky is the limit for County Longford. Look what we can achieve when the right people join forces – repurposing this beautiful heritage building into a facility that will serve generations to come. Congratulations to the driving force behind this project Edgeworthstown Enterprise Hub Clg and all of the supporting partners.”
Longford County Council Chief Executive Paddy Mahon added, “The opening of co:worx Edgeworthstown is the realisation of a vote of confidence in both Edgeworthstown and County Longford as a great location to work, live and invest in. It will make a real difference to the quality of life on offer and allows people to live, work and participate locally in a meaningful way.”
On behalf of the Edgeworthstown Enterprise Hub Clg, Chairperson Hugh Quinn said: "We are proud to declare co:worx open for business. We were lucky to have an enthusiastic board and the help of several local and national agencies. Their advice and financial support gave us the confidence to deliver what is a first in County Longford and an enormous asset for our town and community.” Further information on booking a workspace can be found at coworx.ie or by emailing Luiz@coworx.ie or calling 087 708 3914.