A Malton-based company is consulting with local freelancers, artists and small business owners to develop plans for a co-working space and creative hub in Ryedale.

Ryedale Creatives are carrying out a feasibility study for a new shared workspace to provide a home for the many creative micro-businesses in the area.

The workspace could include co-working and hot-desking facilities, and studio spaces for artists and makers and finding out what facilities local people want is an important part of the process.

The Ryedale Creative Spaces study involves identifying what working facilities professionals need, learning from similar successful schemes elsewhere, finding a suitable location and identifying a sustainable business model. The project has received £12,500 from the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund to carry this out.

Ryedale Creative Director Helen Mahoney said: “There are significant numbers of small creative enterprises operating in Ryedale, covering everything from craft to creative technology, architecture to visual art.

"People have told us they often feel isolated and don’t have access to local networks and affordable workspace outside their homes. Providers of existing facilities such as local artist studios are already oversubscribed but unable to expand in their current premises. There is a clear need for the type of flexible, shared workspace that many people who live in larger towns and cities now benefit from. We are investigating how to make that work in a rural district”

Initial research carried out by Ryedale Creative last year showed that a lack of spaces where creative professionals can collaborate and grow their businesses is holding the sector back.

Co-director Robin Jackson said: "We would encourage anyone who thinks they might make use of the space to fill in the survey.

“We are taking a broad view of what ‘creative’ means in this context and we are keen to receive a wide range of opinions from local people”

Anyone working in the creative and cultural industries (or related sectors) is invited to share their views through an online survey which is available until March 18 at https://bit.ly/rcssurvey2024

Anyone who would like to contribute to the project in another way – for example, by suggesting suitable properties or collaboration opportunities – is welcome to contact helen@ryedalecreative.co.uk

Editors Notes

• Ryedale Creative is a new company focussing on rural community development through an approach that crosses boundaries between art, culture and the built environment. Co-directors Robin Jackson and Helen Mahoney each have over 20 years’ experience in their respective fields of architecture, arts and culture and social research. Current strands of work include creative placemaking projects, architectural design and masterplanning, social research and community consultation and consultancy and training for the cultural and creative industries. https://www.instagram.com/ryedalecreative

• The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a central pillar of the UK government’s Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local investment by March 2025. The Fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills. For more information, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-sharedprosperity-fund-prospectus

• North Yorkshire Council’s Towards a North Yorkshire Strategic Framework for Culture 2021 – 2026 identified affordable workspace as a key challenge for those working in the creative and cultural industries in the county. It identifies a cluster approach as a way of addressing this and moving the sector forward. This also echoes the UK Government’s recently published Creative Industries Sector Vision, which has a focus on regional creative clusters.

• In 2023, under previous trading name Bloom Arts, Ryedale Creative Director Helen Mahoney produced Developing the rural creative & cultural landscape, the culmination of a period of research and development funded by Arts Council England. The report contains useful information for anyone delivering cultural services in rural England.

Contact Details

Helen Mahoney: helen@ryedalecreative.co.uk

This project is funded by the UK government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.