Working independently can be a lonely, frustrating and worrying business at times, but one local group is determined to offer support to those who find the going tough.
Jelly Liverpool is a weekly event that allows freelancers and small businesses to meet up and bring them together for a day of co-working and collaboration.
Originally funded by Liverpool John Moores University, the scheme helps early-stage entrepreneurs grow their enterprise by providing co-working space for productivity, alliance, mentoring and events. After funding became unavailable, Lynda Bates, Neil Morrin and Dan Lynch decided to take the project on board themselves.
Ms Bates, the organiser of Jelly Liverpool, told JMU Journalism: “We are a community of independent people. Each of us does our own thing, but as a community we learn more about what everyone else does, helping one another. We run it partly because we really benefit from coming along here.”
Jelly was originally set up in New York City in 2006, when roommates Amit Guphta and Luke Crawford realised that they loved working from home, but they missed the creative brainstorming and friendship of a traditional office.
Various locations, such as Co Works, Cotton Exchange and Does Liverpool offer freelancers coffee, wi-fi and a place to sit, chat and work with others, providing the opportunity to get out of the house and meet new people just like them.
YouTube: JMU Journalism
Lynda said: “A mixture of likeminded individuals, such as illustrators, translators, developers and fashion designers seem to enjoy the event, being able to work on their own stuff but not on their own. We even have a freelance town planner.
“We see a lot of regulars who attend these events, maybe it be for the whole day or just an hour. Some people come once or twice a month or a few times a year, but it’s great to see a lot of familiar faces as well as new ones.”
As well as freelancers, students close to graduating like to come down to Jelly to start to get to know other potential colleagues and find out more about the community they will be entering.
Jelly holds one event per week, although March will see six gatherings in six different locations around Liverpool.
Ms Bates added: “We are really excited to be able to take Jelly to a weekly basis and really are thankful for all the support we receive from the generous venues, without them this would not be possible.
“We would love to encourage a lot more to attend and to spread the word wider in Liverpool to attract more from the creative & digital industry sector. Anyone who works remotely or independently is made very welcome no matter what you do or what you create, you’re welcome to come to Jelly and share your talent and learn from others.’