The Impact Hub was ‘purpose-built to be as inclusive as possible’ with a fully accessible working environment.
Ireland’s first purpose-built inclusive remote working hub has opened in Cork, with facilities to support workers with disabilities.
The new hub was opened today (25 March) by Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar, TD. It was developed in partnership with the Ballincollig Business Association and the Rubicon Centre at Munster Technological University.
The Impact Hub is located at the Crann Centre in Ballincollig, and will enable people with disabilities to enjoy the benefits of co-working while creating local business and employment opportunities.
It features a 17-desk facility with high-speed broadband, a fully accessible working environment and ample free parking. The three-acre location includes a leisure space, fitness area and inclusive playground.
“I’m a big fan of remote and hybrid working, and the Government want it to be a much bigger part of working life,” Varadkar said. “The pandemic showed us what’s possible but now we need to put the structures in place to make choice, when possible, the new normal.”
Varadkar said that remote working opens up opportunities for many people including those with disabilities, and we need to make sure facilities are put in place meet their needs. “It’s something we all need to think about when designing any service or space,” he added.
“This new hub is one of hundreds we are investing in across the country. This one is different, however, in that it has been purpose-built to be as inclusive as possible.”
The businesses located within the Impact Hub will receive tailored business supports and mentoring from Cork city and county Local Enterprise Offices. The hub is sponsored by AIB, Cork City Council and the Open Doors Initiative, which advocates for equal employment opportunities.
Crann Centre founder and chair Kate Jarvey said: “At a time when just 36.5pc of people (aged 15 to 64) with a disability are at work, compared to 72.8pc of people without a disability, it is important that we all take proactive steps to bring about change.”
MC for the launch event, Sarah Dullea, said she was struggling to find an accessible location for her beauty therapy business in 2019, before the Crann Centre gave her the opportunity to locate in their facility. She spoke of the impact this had for her and was excited to see other people with a disability have the opportunity to work and collaborate at this new hub.
Mayor of Cork County Cllr Gillian Coughlan added: “When our economic development team, headed by Sharon Corcoran, met the team at the Crann Impact Hub, we knew that it made sense for us to be involved. Our Local Enterprise team can provide the specialised supports which can help the businesses and individuals based here to grow and thrive.”
Last March, the Government launched Employers for Change with the Open Doors initiative, which is a web-based employer disability information service and a dedicated helpline to help make workplaces more inclusive of people with disabilities.
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