Thinking of setting up your own business? Looking for somewhere to locate? Or relocate to? Looking to secure a good work-life balance for you and your colleagues. Looking to employ some new colleagues?
Think of Hexham!
Think of Hexham’s quality of life as well as its support for young businesses. Think of its location – dual carriageway to Newcastle and the A1, rail, air (we can’t boast our own airport (yet!) but we share Newcastle’s which is only 25 minutes away by car). And think of our location in the splendid Tyne Valley, surrounded by superb countyside that will relax you and your work-force – and keep you all fit!
Everything is here, in a friendly little market town – leisure facilities, its own racecourse, a full range of shopping, markets and farmers markets, Hexham and Tynedale golf courses (and the impressive Matfen Hall and Slaley Hall international courses are nearby). Hexham offers rowing, a riverside park, long and short walks, its own cinema, an increasingly successful triathlon club, its own theatre and many, many events throughout the year. It has good schools with outstanding features and high performance.
Support for New Businesses
In its typically sociable and welcoming way, Hexham offers an alternate Friday morning breakfast meeting at the County Hotel, Priestpopple, for useful networking, exchange of views and support among other like-minded businesses people. The Tynedale Business Network is changing to keep up with the times. It’s developing along lines determined by its members, from a pure networking group to a business mentoring and advisory group. They feel that in the current challenging economy all SMEs require business support – and it works well if it’s experienced peer group members to bounce ideas off.
By the end of April 2014 in Hexham, two brand new Enterprise Hubs will be established in existing businesses in the town. The hubs will pilot a new approach to renting small office and flexible workshop space to micro-enterprises, providing access to superfast broadband and free parking. The National Park Authority, at the top of Eastgate, will offer a competitively-priced, high quality office complex – nine new offices and a communal space for open networking. Adapt North East on Burn Lane will provide nine new workshop units, with the addition of four existing offices and a meeting space within the main office block. It is intended that these will have a focus on more traditional manufacturing and social enterprise.
See the Hexham Courant Article from December 2013 that introduces the potential local impact of the two Enterprise Hubs.
The Hexham Business Forum brings together a good proportion of Hexham businesses, provides a wide network and good support, and represents its members on other local bodies, including the Hexham Community Partnership and some of the Town Council’s working groups.
Quality of Life
Isn’t the quality of life an important consideration for someone about to undergo the pressure of starting a new business? Or re-locating and expanding? And for employees too!
The quality of life here, community safety, the town’s strong sense of community and access to the wonderful surrounding countryside to support the life-style choice of keeping fit and healthy are all confirmed advantages of life in Hexham. The report on the town’s 2011 investigation into people’s sense of Well-being in Hexham is a long read, but it is worth it. Click 2011 Well-Being Survey (453) for the full report.
Add to this the position of our nearby city, Newcastle upon Tyne, as one of the best cities in Europe for quality of life and well-being, as confirmed by residents themselves in the 2012 European Commission survey. Again, it’s a long read, but it does show people’s general high level of satisfaction living in the North East. This includes levels of satisfaction with education and health care. Residents of Madrid, Paris and Rome, as well as the people of London, Manchester and Glasgow are envious of Newcastle’s quality of life, including air quality and low noise levels.
There’s no shortage of skills in Hexham. There’s an unusual dimension to Hexham that needs considering. Its very successful High School (Queen Elizabeth – QE for short) sends every year a strong cohort of bright young people into the wider world. Some seek employment locally immediately. A large number go on to university, on a wide array of courses. This group tend not to come back here to work. Many would if they could – a small town doesn’t offer them enough highly skilled, challenging job opportunities. Advertise in Hexham – better than a call to a university!
This is the same at all other levels of employment – A’ level, apprenticeships, GCSE. Many choose one of the local FE colleges to extend their skills and training (e.g. Northumberland College, Newcastle College or the specialist agricultural college Kirkley Hall). Hexham’s young people are on their toes, looking for the right jobs.
As cute as a puppy’s nose
In February 2013 the Guardian newspaper highlighted Hexham in its weekly ‘Let’s Move To’ magazine section. Its conclusion:
‘Cute as a puppy’s nose, handsome as Clark Gable: is this the nicest market town in the known universe?’
Probably! What more can we say!