Shoreditch ‘Village Hall’ aims to let whole of Hackney benefit from tech boom

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Image Source: Giacomo Tonoli
Image Source: Giacomo Tonoli
James Governor (pictured right), co-founder of Shoreditch Village Hall, celebrates the opening
Image Source: Giacomo Tonoli

A company supporting start-up businesses launched an alternative ‘village hall’ in Hoxton last week.

Shoreditch Works launched the new crowdfunded venue on Hoxton Square, which it claims will engage all of Hackney with the economic success of the Shoreditch technology boom.

Like many startup hubs, the ‘Shoreditch Village Hall’ has co-working spaces, support for small businesses, and a cafe with a coffee machine that can be controlled via the internet.

But it also houses an events space that has set aside 20 per cent of its bookings as free events for community groups low on cash.

Co-founder James Governor was motivated to act shortly after the London Riots: “I was cycling through Hackney to Shoreditch, and it’s like you’re cycling up a hill of digital opportunity, and it’s getting harder and harder. We want to level that gradient.”

Mr Governor was also critical of the government’s lack of initiative in spreading the benefits of Shoreditch’s success to help Hackney as a whole.

“It’s no good just focussing on cutting capital gains tax and opening up more foreign visas. Fundamentally, for social sustainability, and the sustainability of the Shoreditch technology cluster, the focus has to be on the surrounding community.”

The company’s foundation is also working with a number of schools and organisations to offer people in Hackney the chance to develop entrepreneurial and technological skills, with schemes like Code Club, in which volunteers teach children computer coding.

The Shoreditch Village Hall is the third start-up space run by Shoreditch Works, after it opened others on Scrutton Street and City Road.