What is the Military Coworking Network?
The MCN is an online community for partners of military personnel everywhere to share advice and inspiration, and create a network of contacts to help and support their careers, education, studies and businesses.
Individual hubs are connected together by a powerful, online professional network which any member, anywhere, can access and benefit from.
What is a coworking hub?
The coworking hubs are fully equipped office spaces on bases throughout the UK and overseas.
They provide the facilities that you would expect in any office (a quiet workspace that isn’t the kitchen table, fast wifi, printing and a good cuppa!) but more importantly they can give you access to local professional networking opportunities for your career or business, information about employers in the local area, education opportunities and the chance to meet new people and make friends.
What services does a coworking hub offer?
A fully equipped, comfortable office space with fast wifi,
Peer to peer support and encouragement and access to a wide range of information and advice including local job opportunities, how to start a business, further education and business networking,
Regular email updates on what’s going on in your local base, support that's available, professional & social networking opportunities etc,
Social & networking events to help meet people, collaborate, share ideas and support each other,
Promotion of local civilian businesses to the military community, and vice versa, to help improve local community integration.
Who are they for?
The hubs are primarily aimed at the partners of serving personnel, but they are also open to the adult children of serving personnel and service leavers that need a quiet space to study.
What does it cost?
There are two kinds of membership:
Online membership is free and offers you access to the network and regular email updates and information. This is for people who don’t need to use the physical office space but still want to receive information and be part of the online network, attend events and benefit from the community support.
Hub membership costs £20 per year and enables you to access the national network of coworking hub spaces (local restrictions may apply on some camps) and full access to the online network.
Why should I become a member?
There are so many benefits, here are just some:
to get out of the house and “go to work”,
to find friendship and networking opportunities,
to go somewhere quiet to study,
to avoid the distractions of being at home,
to increase your focus and productivity,
you want a collaborative, creative space to start or grow your business, surrounded by people who are doing the same thing.
What facilities are in a coworking hub?
Every hub will offer slightly different facilities but the key ones will be:
24 hour access, 7 days a week,
Desk space that can be booked each week,
Good tea and coffee & kitchen facilities,
Printing facilities* and stationery,
Meeting spaces for privacy.*
*Please check local availability
How often can I use it?
You can use the hub 24hrs 7 days a week if you would like, or as much or as little as you want.
What happens if I’m posted?
Your £20 membership gets you membership to our international network of hubs, just update your online profile to the next hub, get in touch with the team at your new hub, and carry on your membership there.
You will be able to get up and running straight away – no stress of internet that doesn’t work or working surrounded by packing boxes for the first few weeks! Don’t forget to join your local hub’s Facebook group so you can meet people before you arrive as well – they will be a fountain of knowledge on the local area and you will already know people when you arrive!
There isn’t a coworking space in my garrison or station how do I set one up?
We have many more hubs in the pipeline – please check our live map to see if your area is on there.
If it is, then go the Military Coworking Network Page and find the local Military Coworking Hub group for the area.
If not, and you would like to be pato help us set one up, please contact us, and we will guide you through the process.
Who is behind this project?
The whole project has been built by military partners, for military partners.
We have grown purely by demand from partners around the world. As we have grown the network has become a full-time job and we now have a small “Central Support Team” who run the day to day operations and expansion of the network.
The Central Support Team continues to be manned by military partners, and we all work remotely and flexibly.
I want to help. How do I get involved?
Get in touch! We love to hear from you and we love to share the huge amount of talent that is in our community.
If you have a hub local to you we can put you in touch with them to see how you could help and if you don’t, but you think you have a skill that we would benefit from then we would love to hear from you.
Who runs the spaces?
Each hub is run by a small team of enthusiastic local members who truly believe in the network and the community we are building.
The Central Support Team take care of as much of the administration of the hubs as possible, but we still need people in the hubs to build their coworking community and establish a professional relationship with the base.
These members are the core of our community and give a huge amount of effort, energy and time to make the hubs work well.
I want to set up my own business, can the coworking network and hubs help?
Yes! First, check out our Business Support page for a great “Quick link” guide to all the services that are offered free to our Forces community. There are lots of great courses available from groups like Heropreneurs and Supporting the Unsung Hero.
If you have a hub local to you then first join their local Military Coworking Hub Facebook group and then get yourself to a hub. As well as lots of remote workers, our hubs are full of people running their own businesses. They have been through, or are going through the same journey and the great thing about coworking is that you have a friendly group of people working around you to ask questions and bounce ideas off.
Many hubs also have great links with the Local Enterprise Partnerships which can help small businesses with practical support and integration with the local community.
I want to get more qualifications, how can my local hub help?
First, check out our Career Support page for a great “Quick link” guide to all the services that are offered free to our Forces community. Companies like Lifeworks offer great courses designed to reveal exactly what it is you want to do.
Every hub is at a different stage but our long term aim is that every hub will have an established relationship with local colleges and Universities.
Once you are enrolled on a course the hub can provide a quiet, clear space to study from that you can have access to 24/7.
Restrictions have been eased, so why is the hub remaining closed?
Your hub is remaining closed until we have more certainty that the pandemic is under control and that all hubs will be able to be opened for at least 12 months without interruption. We also want you and your fellow coworkers to feel confident in using a coworking space and benefit from the full experience of working, studying or learning in a coworking hub.
Why are you only opening 12 hubs?
We are concentrating on 12 hubs to deliver the best possible model for coworking spaces on military bases, we then hope that the model will be rolled out to other military bases once the concept is proved to be a success.
I’m not in an area where there is a hub. What help and support is there for me?
We have a thriving online community which you can access by signing up as an online member.
How often will we be updated on when the hub is likely to reopen.
We will update you as and when we have information to share with you, unfortunately we cannot anticipate when the hubs are likely to reopen, but we are keen to open them as soon as it is safe to do so.
How long will the hubs be closed for?
Unfortunately, we are at the mercy of a global pandemic and we cannot give any firm dates for the reopening of the hubs.
Can I reserve a desk now so I don’t miss out?
Our desk booking system will be open for reservations two weeks before the date of reopening the hubs.
Are MCN events still running during this time?
We will continue to run a monthly virtual event for all of our members to enjoy.
Can we still use the hub if base say we can?
We have asked all stations to support our decision of hub closures, this will give us time to refurbish your hub to make it an inviting, inspiring and comfortable space for you to work, study and learn in.
Why do we need a pause?
The MCN received some funding from the Armed Forces Covenant Trust Fund to demonstrate the benefits of coworking spaces on military bases for serving personnel and their families. To enable us to demonstrate these benefits we need the hubs to be open with a bustling community. By instigating a pause to the project it means that we will be protecting this funding for when the hubs can reopen for a sustained period and members can use the hubs to their full potential.
We had the hub before the MCN was a thing – why should we stop?
The ultimate goal for the Military Coworking Network is for there to be a coworking space on every military base in the UK and overseas. To help achieve this goal and to sustain the future of your own coworking hub we need to be able to clearly demonstrate the benefits of them in order to gain full support for the roll out of the model.
What can we do in the meantime?
Sign up as an online member and make the most of our membership benefits, take part in our monthly online events and please spread the word to anyone you meet about your great coworking network.
Is this the end of the MCN?
Absolutely not! We still have funding for at least 12 months to deliver the pilot, evaluate the success and report our findings to the MOD. With your continued help and support, this will only just be the beginning of the MCN.
If no one else is using the hub, why can’t I use it as I’d be there on my own?
Just one of the many benefits of coworking is the networking opportunities you have with fellow coworkers and we want you to be able to experience all of the benefits of coworking in a thriving, inspiring environment – you never know who you might meet!
What happened to the funding that the project got from the Covenant?
The funding will be solely used on the pilot project and it is released in tranches, so we have requested that the Armed Forces Covenant Trust Fund hold on to that funding for us until we are able to reopen the hubs.
What can we do for the MCN during the pause of the pilot project?
We would love for you to sign up to online membership on our website (it’s free!) and keep telling all of your friends, neighbours and colleagues all about the Military Coworking Network and encourage them to become online members and join our Facebook community. For those who have a coworking hub near them, please get involved with leaflet distribution and promotion and helping us make your hub look fabulous for opening in September,