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MCN: We're more than a network – we're a community!

Updated: May 29

We’re called the Military Coworking Network (MCN). That’s our name. That’s our brand. But the MCN is so much more than a network. It’s a proper community.


But perhaps I should best begin by defining what is meant by the two concepts.


Network


I think in its simplest form, a network is a group of people you want to be connected to but who also want to be connected to YOU because they are in some way useful or valuable to you.


Perhaps they can help you progress in your career or help you grow your business through their knowledge, experience, and expertise. They tend to be like-minded people, either doing what you do or aspiring to achieve the same, or working in the same industry sector as you. Oftentimes you meet them through work-related events. Ultimately, they are acquaintances and there is a mutual benefit to that relationship, for both parties.


Now that doesn’t mean that it stops there. Sometimes, what starts as a network connection evolves into a great friendship. And that’s where we begin to see a community emerging.


Community


A community, on the other hand, is a group of people who you want to be connected to you, so more like friends. These are people who care for you and care about you, your career, or your business. People who are there for you whenever you need them. Who want you to succeed, and want to support you, unconditionally.


So, what makes the MCN a community?


Everyone who belongs to the MCN has a strong connection to the military and has lived experience of being a military spouse or partner. That forges a strong and unique connection from the outset. You are surrounded by people who get you, who understand the challenges you are facing, and who can and will support you when you need help without expecting anything in return.

“There are all sorts of things to do with military life and being a military spouse, and you don’t necessarily find that information in the wider world – the best place to get it is from the people who are going through the same stuff or haven through the same stuff in the past.” MCN Hub Member

Here, there is very much a musketeer way of thinking – “all for one and one for all”- a sense of solidarity and an unwritten pledge that each individual will support the group and the group will support the individual, whatever the request, whatever the matter in hand, no matter how big or small it might be.


Our Online Community provides ample opportunities for members to connect, support, and share experiences and expertise with their peers across relevant topics, including wellbeing, career, and business. These range from online events to case studies, from blogs to top tips, and much more. All are designed to break down barriers, inspire new ways of thinking, give new perspectives, and open the door to new opportunities.


The online Facebook Community Group offers our members a safe and trusted space to ask questions and seek advice and guidance without fear of judgement. But it also allows people to connect with others from other bases, something that puts them in good stead for the next posting, giving them an undeniable advantage of having a ready-made network when they land and all the insider knowledge in advance. The same goes for our online events and other virtual ‘meet and connect’ opportunities that we offer.


The coworking hubs offer a safe and trusted space, where members feel understood and know that they can rely on their peers for support, professional and personal, whenever they need it. And that community extends beyond the realms of simple coworking.


Many hub members have told us that the hubs have given them the chance to meet other business owners, and share experiences, expertise, and ideas. This has enabled them to grow their business and their business skills and confidence. Others have even felt inspired to set up their own business by listening to and learning from other members.

“It’s inspired me to one day start my own business.” MCN Hub Member

There’s a natural willingness to share information, lessons learned, and best practices among the members with everyone genuinely wanting the other to succeed.


And so many members have been able to meet new people through the hubs and develop lasting and meaningful relationships, which has transformed their social lives on base and improved their quality of life overall.


Our virtual networking sessions allow our members to work together, remotely and benefit from being part of a group of like-minded people. Here they can safely bounce ideas off each other, seek help in real time, and of course, connect and grow their networks.


Conclusion


The MCN offers so much more than a network. It truly is a community of like-minded people who have each other’s backs through thick and thin. 


They enjoy a special bond that civilian life doesn’t offer. It is less mercenary and more collaborative and supportive. It’s a lot of give and a lot less take. It’s the MCN.


So, if you are a military spouse or partner of a serving person in the British Armed Forces, or a spouse or partner of a reservist or veteran, or perhaps a war widow or widower, then why not take the first step and join this unique community? 


The online community is FREE to join, and even the coworking hub network only costs £30 / year for access to a professional coworking space on base. You can check out our locations here.


See you on the other side!


About the Military Coworking Network (MCN)


The Military Coworking Network is a not-for-profit tri-service membership initiative for the spouses and partners of serving personnel, regulars and reserves, veterans, and bereaved families.


We are funded via the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust and supported by the Ministry of Defence (MoD), Royal Air Forces Association, and the Navy, Army, and RAF Families Federations.


Our remit is to enable spouses and partners across the Armed Forces community to create and maintain independent and fulfilled professional lives alongside military life, and beyond.


We do this via our Online Community and Network of Coworking Hubs, which are located at military bases across the UK and abroad and provided free of charge by the British Armed Forces.


Membership of our Online Community is free and gives access to our Resource Library, as well as online events, and networking opportunities.


Hub Membership is set at just £30 per year to cover the basic running costs of hub facilities. Any surplus funds are reinvested into the hub to drive further improvements in line with the needs of members.

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