From web developers to joiners - new Sheffield support group for anyone working on their own

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A new networking and support group for Sheffield’s freelance, self employed and sole trader community has been set-up in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Covid-19 has had a particularly devastating effect on these groups, many of whom don’t qualify for extra help from the Government.

Sheffield Collective’ has been created to bring together people who work ‘on their own’ regardless of their industry, to share ideas and hopefully help each other find new opportunities - as well as some new friends at a difficult time.

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The first meet-up will be held remotely on Thursday April 30 via Zoom - with a third of available places claimed in the first 48 hours.

James Marriott, freelance podcast and media specialist.James Marriott, freelance podcast and media specialist.
James Marriott, freelance podcast and media specialist.

The group has been set up by James Marriott who is himself self-employed and working in the freelance sector in media.

He said: “The current crisis has really highlighted an opportunity for Sheffield’s freelance, self-employed and sole trader communities to come together.

“Sheffield Collective is truly designed to be just that - a collective. It’s not just for people in the digital industry or creative sectors, it’s wide open to anyone who falls in the category of ‘working on their own’.

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“In normal times, it’s probably unlikely someone who works as a joiner would find themselves discussing business with a web developer - but that’s exactly the point.


“The way someone in a completely different area of work has tackled the challenges of the last few weeks might just be the catalyst for you to crack a new idea for what you do.

“Referrals will hopefully play a big role, with members recommending each other.

“And beyond all that, it’s about making new friendships and having a support network. I’ve found times in the last few weeks where I’ve felt quite professionally lonely, and that’s a difficult place to be psyschologically. Sheffield Collective is about saying you’re never alone; we’ve got each other’s backs.

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“We might work on our own, but we’re never alone - that’s really the mantra.

“In time there may be things like webinars, guest speakers, break out sessions - the options are quite endless - but I want the Collective as a whole to shape the direction, so we’ll discuss future ideas in the first couple of meet-ups. It’s really a blank page as to where it goes.

“The interest in the first few days has really blown me away and shown there is a real need for this group. I’d also like to thank Sheffield Digital who have been incredibly supportive and helpful in getting things off the ground.”

In the immediate term, the group will meet remotely but once social-distancing rules are relaxed, it’s hoped to introduce some physical meet-ups too.

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Sheffield Collective is on Twitter @SheffCollective and tickets for the first meet-up are available free on Eventbrite by searching ‘Sheffield Collective’. James can be contacted on Twitter @JamesMarriott, by email at [email protected] or on LinkedIn.

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