Meet Your Stafford Jelly Organiser

April 21, 2014

I can’t remember where I first heard of Jelly, it was most likely Twitter – that’s where I hear about most things. Once I learnt exactly what it was, I loved the idea. It originated in New York and groups have started to appear in the UK since 2009. The UK Jelly website definition sums it up pretty well:

Jelly is an informal co-working event where freelancers, home workers and small/micro business owners bring their laptop or other work and work, chat and collaborate with other small business owners.

The ethos of Jelly is that it is NOT networking and you do not go to pitch your work, which sounded rather refreshing. I quite liked the idea of meeting other businesses without having to stand up and talk in some attempt to sell myself.

Surprisingly, there wasn’t already a Jelly near (enough) to Stafford, so I decided to organise my own. I did discover during my research that there had been one in Stafford several years ago, but for whatever reason had stopped running.

The most difficult part was finding a venue. The idea is that the event is free, there is somewhere to sit and WiFi is provided. Many of the town centre coffee shops have limited seating and thrive on having a good turnover of customers throughout the day. They weren’t too keen on having a section of seats reserved for the whole day when each participant would only buy one lunch.

Looking further afield, The Dog and Doublet Inn at Sandon offered the use of their “snug” – a cosy little room at the front of the building. It was perhaps a little too cosy for office work, but unfortunately what made it unsuitable was that the power sockets around the room turned out to be lamp sockets and couldn’t be used to charge laptops; whoops!

Eventually I discovered Yarnfield Park Training Centre and this was the perfect venue. They have now hosted three Jellies and each one has attracted new visitors to the venue.

What Do I like so much about Jelly?

Jelly co-working is perfect for anyone who works from home and perhaps feels isolated or struggles to be productive in a home-office. I’ve never really struggled with this, but I do sometimes miss being in a thriving office with other web developers. Jelly has been a chance for me to re-create a buzzing work environment, sharing ideas, asking for advice and generally chatting. It’s quite a social occasion and I have found myself inspired and motivated by the people who attend.

So, who can come?

Anyone who can transport their work. If you have a laptop or tablet computer, there is WiFi provided. If you have a small and tidy craft, such as sewing or knitting, you can bring that along. As long as you can carry it, won’t make a mess or cause too much disturbance to the other workers, you will be welcome at Stafford Jelly.

When and where?

We meet on the last Thursday of each month in the restaurant at Yarnfield Park. Remember that Jelly is a casual event, so you don’t have to be there from start to finish.

There is a Facebook page you can follow if you’d like to see reminders of the events in your Facebook feed. Or, if you’d like to email me I can add you to the invite list for the next event.