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Transforming and Evolving with Spacebar

1st August 2022

Creating Spacebar at the Sovereign Centre has so far; provided an opportunity for local businesses to access support through live digital projects delivered by Weston College students, free of charge. The Digital Hub is a visible project to the local community, signalling the Sovereign Centre and Weston-super-Mare as a tech hub, supporting the local business community to recover and rebuild.

Starting in Summer 2022, Spacebar will move into a new phase where the space not only supports industry placements for T Level students; it will become an active Business and Training Hub which will not only provide a base of knowledge for local businesses to engage with the college and other local support but to take the next steps into honing employability skills. The aim of Spacebar is not only to engage the local community with digital assistance to help propel their business but also to signpost individuals and companies looking to upskill, attract talent, invest in learning, or access help into employment in one central space.

Spacebar is a key part of the wider placemaking strategy being driven by the Weston Place Agency, and it is named as a strategic project in the North Somerset Economic Renewal Strategy. It is a collaboration between Weston College, the Weston Business Improvement District (BID), North Somerset Council and the Sovereign Centre has the host location. Weston BID provide operational management of Spacebar including customer liaison, providing an opportunity for BID business members to access free digital support.

A total of 36 finished and current website projects have been delivered for local businesses in Weston-Super-Mare and the greater Weston area, free of charge. There has been a focus on supporting not-for-profit organisations who do not have the funds to engage professional website design agencies, ensuring Spacebar delivers social value and impact. This support has included the building of new websites, reviewing existing websites to make improvements, and supporting other digital projects for employers to enhance their online presence.

As Spacebar looks to evolve and grow with the addition of dedicated mentor support for digital T Level students; it will also welcome a more creative element from design students that offers a more rounded and agency style environment. Outside of placement hours, there will be hosted drop-in clinics for local businesses looking for support from the college and offer help to those looking to get into work with wrap around employability support from dedicated teams at West of England Works.

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