One of the top assumptions about The Guild is that it is Council managed and owned, though it is 100% true to say that we were 'backed' by the Council (B&NES awarded us a Capital Grant of £500K to redevelop the space) they are along with others one of our key sponsors - they pay for room hire, they don't receive access to our members and nor can or do they work here. We thought that it was time to explain a bit more about who we are and how we are managed.
The Guild is ran and operated by a private company belonging to Tom Lewis, his company then employs both Tatjana and Elliot, however, this doesn't mean that the team can simply do what it likes...
...When we were awarded the Capital Grant we were given a set of SLAs and we were advised to become a CiC (Community Interest Company) back in 2012/3 these weren't as common as they are now. Part of being a CiC is to create an asset lock which means that everything you see in the Guild (and also some of the things you don't) is protected. So, if the main operating company was the cease to exist the 'Guild' would be ring fenced and the members could still come in and work the next day.
As for the SLAs one of our key SLAs referred to our members - anyone who uses the Guild to work NOT MEET has to work in either the tech or creative industries. Far from being restrictive this refers to two of the widest groups, our members range from coders, designers (both print and digital), planning experts, gamers, to children book authors. And though we aren't an incubator we try to support our members by providing workspace that encourages flexibility and collaboration, we're really lucky here in Bath to have such a strong digital sector, one which is started to be recognised nationally and internationally. Last week The Guild was visited by a French Press Delegation, which included writers from Le Figaro and BMFTV who came over to the UK to discover more about the region. It was great to introduce them to our members, many of whom do business with France and continental Europe.
As a CiC our priority is community: our members, Bath and the South-West. That is why last month we launched a new membership called Friends of The Guild, we invited twenty local not-for-profit companies and networks to join the Guild. The membership gives access to our front room where they can work and meet with clients as well as room hire discount allowing them to hold workshops, team strategy meetings and interviews. We hope that by encouraging these groups we welcome more of the wider community through our doors and become the creative and tech hub that we set out to be in 2013.
So the main things you need to know about The Guild are:
Bath has been recognised as part of the largest tech cluster outside of London, it is home to a high percentage of startups and freelancers working in the tech and creative industries as well as being home to two top Universities.