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Established by sisters Cathy Emmins and Sandie Johnston, LIME TREE WORK SHOP is a new co-working facility in Sevenoaks, Kent.

The space offers a secure, convenient and accessible design-led space from which to work, without the frustrations and distractions of working from home or from a coffee shop. There are flexible packages to suit each individual’s requirements and there are associated benefits alongside this, including superfast WiFi, discounted meeting room hire, complimentary tea and coffee and a calendar of networking events to build local connections.

Cathy explains the vision behind the business and how the pair got started: “Sandie and I have often talked about working together over the years, but due to family life, and our own careers, we never found the right time to do it. Then in October 2020, Sandie took voluntary redundancy having been in the world of meetings and events for 24 years and I was taking a sabbatical from my interior design business, so it just felt like the stars had aligned for us to start working together. 

“We talked about different ventures, what we might want to do and co-working was something that stood out. We thought it would give us a really good chance of success given the current climate and the fact that the landscape of the working world has changed quite dramatically because of the pandemic.

“We’ve been very fortunate to find this amazing property on Lime Tree Walk, which is a building of real local and historical interest and has been derelict for 20 years. The fact we’ve been able to bring it back to life after so long has generated a lot of interest locally. As someone with an interior design background, it’s been fantastic to work on a building with these sorts of bones. It has meant that what we’ve been able to create is very design-led, which I think is unique for a workspace. Our mission statement is to provide a vibrant and inspiring community workspace in the heart of town for anyone looking for more than just a desk as that place of work and this building helps us to do that.”

Sandie adds that since they opened in April 2022 they have received a great response from members: “Everyone comes in and says it’s got good energy and it’s got a good vibe to it, but also it feels like a creative space. We’ve got people here who are freelance writers and one person who is writing a novel. In fact she spoke to me recently and said she has managed to be so much more productive because she’s able to focus in really nice, comfortable surroundings. It’s fantastic to hear feedback like this. 

“We also have an app which links all our members to allow them to network and promote their businesses. It’s also been really fascinating hearing people upstairs who are on dedicated desks, they’re all getting to know each other and having nice conversations. It’s about building a community and establishing those connections, which I think people really missed during the pandemic.”

Having both grown up in the Sevenoaks district, Cathy and Sandie were familiar with the area and recognised the opportunity it presented to set up a business. Cathy explains why they chose Sevenoaks and what they think it has to offer: “We felt like there was a gap in the market here as people’s working patterns have changed so much recently, so there is a strong demand for working flexibly. It’s also got great links to London so if people have to travel up for a meeting then it’s very easy to hop on a train and do that. 

“There’s also amazing access to open spaces with Knole Park on our doorstep and a great selection of shops, restaurants and cafes, all of which our members are using on a regular basis which is brilliant to see as one of the key things we wanted to do was help support the local high street by driving additional footfall into the town. Sevenoaks is able to support the work-life balance as our members are able to get their life admin done on their lunch breaks or go for a run, which really makes a difference.

While it is only early days for LIME TREE WORK SHOP, the pair are ambitious and are already looking ahead. Cathy concludes: “Obviously, we want to make a success of this, but I feel like we’re on the right track. We’re looking to build up the events side of the business, as our ground floor space is perfect for this. We’ve also always got our eyes open for another building somewhere and our landlord is looking locally, but it would absolutely have to be the right place for us. We’re a way off that at the moment, but never saying never, this could be the first in our portfolio!”