Lettings success for Connect Derby studios following the relaxation of eligibility criteria

A year on from opening their doors to non-creative businesses, Connect Derby’s Friar Gate Studios and Sadler Bridge Studios have let half of their available space to businesses from across the supply chain to the non-creative sectors.

The Studios welcomed non-creative businesses for the first time in winter 2020 after being given the green light from the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) to let up to 30% of their space to tenants from across the creative industries supply chain in a bid to further promote entrepreneurship within the city.

Since then, and despite the challenges faced by the Covid-19 pandemic, non-creative businesses across a range of sectors have taken a total of 3,570 sq. ft of space at the studios on Ford Street and Bold Lane in Derby city centre.

Professional service companies including accountants and financial services firms have joined HR professionals and education and training businesses to set up home at the studios, which have established themselves as the hub of the city’s creative industries.

Businesses taking advantage of the rule change include growth expert Neale Lewis Associates and chartered financial planners, Aristotle Financial Planning, Create Finance and Compact Training, who have all taken workspace at Friar Gate Studios.

Sadler Bridge Studios has welcomed digital training providers Althaus, along with Abbot Risk Consulting, Switch My Business, Revival Finance Ltd and JMK Wealth Management Limited

Since the Connect Derby workspaces reopened after lockdown one in March 2020, tenants have seen the introduction of new ways of working to ensure safe working practices, including social distancing, a new one-way system, Perspex screen shields and mobile hand sanitiser units.

In June 2020, Connect Derby was the first building in Derby to open following a COVID-19 risk assessment carried out by Derby City Council. The Council’s Health & Safety team awarded the managed workspace a score of 92% and a rating of ‘Outstanding.’
Commenting on joining the Connect Derby family, James Wallis from Aristotle Financial Planning, said:

“Since we joined Connect Derby last spring, the business has gone from strength and strength and has attracted a number of new clients.

“Although it’s been a challenging year, the Connect Derby team have been on hand to offer help and support and keep us updated on the availability of any grants and loans we may be entitled to.”

Speaking about the increase in tenants from the non-creative sector, Ann Bhatti, head of Connect Derby, said:

“Despite the challenges faced by the pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns, the decision to relax the eligibility criteria at Friar Gate Studios and Sadler Bridge Studios has proved extremely successful, with a diverse range of business relocating to our workspaces.

“Our tenants benefit from high specification workspaces, flexible lease terms and have the ability to upsize and downsize at buildings across our portfolio, plus a Covid secure working environment, which was given an ‘Outstanding’ rating by Derby City Council.

“I look forward to welcoming more businesses from the supply chain to the non-creative sector and providing them with the support they need for their businesses to thrive.”