As 2019 comes to a close, we’re walking down memory lane to reminisce over everything that has made this year one to remember. Reflection is an important part of moving forward, as by looking back at what you’ve achieved, gained, or even lost in a year, it can help you successfully prepare for the year ahead. In 2019 we sign off a decade, and step into a new one. And as this decade has seen the world become increasingly globalised, connected and online, the world of coworking has successfully brought community back to the workplace, connecting people both professionally and personally. Here at Avenue HQ, we want to reflect on 2019 by giving you a glimpse at what was an amazing year for us and our members.
In January, Our Week of Wellness made a return, to combat the traditionally blue month. This enabled us and our members to start the year as positively as possible, with dog petting areas, yoga, motivational speeches and more. One of our highlights was the Wellbeing Market, which saw local companies join us across our AHQ sites. We hoped that this inspired our members’ healthy habits for January – whether they were carried on throughout the year was out of our hands!
In February we saw the opening of the Barclays Eagle Lab at our East Parade site. This addition was fitting to such an innovative city like Leeds, where startups and entrepreneurs are thriving. The Eagle Lab caters to high growth businesses, and over the past year, we’ve been pleased to welcome companies such as WebAnywhere and Burendo, amongst others, to the space. We’re delighted that Barclays support all of the businesses using Avenue HQ Leeds, providing support and advice on how to continue to scale. In early May, we held the official Launch Party for the Eagle Lab – which brought in hundreds of people to the space, to celebrate our new hub! This was a great addition to our thriving partnership with Eagle Lab in Mann Island, which has supported a huge number of businesses in Liverpool, and even saw Barclays boss Jes Staley visit members at the end of May.
After opening the Eagle Lab, we focused our attention one floor up, to The Rooftop at East Parade. The end of Winter signified the start of something new, working al-desko (or simply, ‘working outside’…). With views of Leeds to inspire blue sky thinking (corny, we know), The Rooftop at East Parade Social made a big impact, inside and out of the AHQ community – it brought thousands of people to the space for drinks, and hosted over 100 events throughout Summer. We can’t wait for its return in 2020, which will be bigger and better than ever.
In May, we returned home to our flagship city to open our third site – St Paul’s Square. Being the second AHQ site in Liverpool, we decided to set up camp in a different area of the city, the Commercial District. We introduced our way of working to a new audience, opened our doors and have begun to create a community in the heart of St Paul’s Square. With 22 offices varying from 2-20 desks, over 100 flexible desks and a unique Conference Centre holding up to 250 for events, it really is a space with something for all businesses.
Since opening we’ve seen over 40 businesses join us, and we’ve hosted events for companies such as Google, Unilever, The FA, Hill Dickinson and many more. Our new Social venue, St Paul’s Social, has also served tens of thousands of hungry workers and tourists, after opening its doors in late April. We’re excited to see our new site grow even more in 2020!
Having more space, across our home city, and in Leeds, meant that we not only welcomed new members in 2019, but hosted events for a huge number of people. From a Rooftop wedding in Leeds, conferences with FinTech North, Summer parties with Burberry and La Redoute, our multi-functional spaces are used for pretty much everything imaginable, by all kinds of businesses.
As we headed into summer, with a fresh new site open, our sister site Mann Island Social opened, a huge 300 person restaurant and bar, located at our first site, Avenue HQ Mann Island. The new addition to our ‘Social’ family was perfectly poised for sun-catching and people watching on Liverpool’s famous docks. The space transformed our first AHQ site, where we have been able to welcome more people into the space than ever.
Our Mann Island site was then short-listed for Prolific North’s Inspired Spaces 2019 – we were delighted for the recognition, especially with the space buzzing, and many businesses having called it home for nearly two years! We were happy to cheer on our members and fellow nominees No Brainer Agency, based at St Paul’s Square, on the Awards Night too! In June, we were also nominated for IPSE’s ‘Coworking Space of the Year’ for the second time running (after winning the award last year), and were delighted to be in the final 10 – huge well done to Duke Studios, the winners and our friends in Leeds!
Meanwhile, our members were busy doing what they do best, driving forward their innovative businesses. Mann Island became Liverpool’s own Love Island when Monterosa saw success with their app developed for summer’s biggest TV show, reaching NO1 in the App store multiple times. And over at East Parade one of our hotdeskers, Matt Crumpton, spoke to the Yorkshire Post about AHQ life about the friends and contacts he has made from working collaboratively.
Our AHQ community didn’t just do amazing things for their own businesses, but helped us support some great causes. This year we have worked with a range of charity partners, fundraising for things like special member lunches, MacMillan Coffee Morning in Leeds (run by members) and a night of entertainment at St Paul’s Social, ‘Life Is A Cabaret’, which raised money for the Liverpool homelessness charity, The Whitechapel Centre. Finally we also introduced The Social Market, working with our sister company, St Paul’s Social. The aim of the market is to encourage workers in St Paul’s Square to support local by shopping local, with a wide variety of Merseyside makers selling their products each month. We have loved the process of meeting local entrepreneurs and the amazing work they do. We look forward to many more Social Markets in 2020!
And at the end of the year, there’s usually a party and a bottle of bubbly. And here at AHQ, we didn’t reserve that just for December. We took the opportunity to celebrate with both old and new friends throughout the year. A highlight was sponsoring The PA Hub’s ‘PA of the Year’ Awards in Leeds, in October. The night was a great tribute to the wonderful PAs that work hard for their respective companies, many of which have used our spaces to hold brilliant events throughout the year.
And now? In December, the Christmas parties have been held in our spaces left, right and centre; we’ve loved hosting all of the guests that have walked through our doors. Across the year, our sites helped to support over 500 events – from small networking events, to huge Summer and Winter blowouts. It has been a pleasure to play a part in supporting businesses and individuals in their celebrations, business growth and hard work. We’ve also loved celebrating Christmas with our members, in the only way we know how – lots and lots of food, and with treats for days. Our 12 Days of Christmas campaign surprised members with different treats every day, from bottles of booze to free donuts!
All in all, this is just a small snapshot of everything that made 2019 so memorable. We want to give a special thanks to everyone who has been part of our 2019 – we wouldn’t be where we are without you! Take the rest of this year for some well deserved R&R and we’ll see you in the New Year, to begin a new chapter.