CO-WORKING office spaces are popping up around the Stroud valleys providing creative hubs for freelancers looking to collaborate.

Alice Paling, 29, and Vicky Ashcroft, 35, opened SpaceHoppers, based in Libby’s Drive in January.

Cluster, which has been up and running for two years, has relocated to Hallidays Mill in the picturesque valley of Chalford.

Adam Hinks, 32, and Marc Palmer, 42, started Cluster after they met at The Exchange in Brick Row, a shared workspace for companies, charities, social enterprises and community groups. They will be opening their new hub on Monday, March 7.

Founders of both Cluster and SpaceHoppers have a penchant for quality coffee, speedy Wi-Fi and minimalist décor.

They have sourced their desks, lamps and furniture from places far and wide including Ikea, car boot sales and eBay.

Since SpaceHoppers opened Alice and Vicky have been inundated with freelancers looking to rent a desk space. They also have a meeting room which can be used for the day if the need arises.

"We've had an amazing response, it's happening quicker than we anticipated,” Alice said, who works in marketing and communications for charities.

"A lot of people think, you know what I can save money with working from home, and you can try that and it does work for lots of people but that social aspect is so important."

Full-time mum Vicky added: "The really important thing for us is that it doesn't become an exclusive place, anybody can come and work here for a day.

"We've got lots of different people joining with lots of different jobs.

“We know there are a lot of people who are self-employed, we know it’s on the up."

There are now 4.66 million self-employed people in the UK according to ONS figures published on Wednesday, February 17.

Lorence Nye, an economist at The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed Registered office (IPSE), said: “The figures show yet another record high in the number of people who choose to work for themselves.

“The self-employed are driving a structural evolution in the UK labour market, providing our economy with flexibility and an essential competitive edge.”

While Alice and Vicky have lived in the district for years Adam and Marc are newer to the area but that has not stopped them from scratching the surface of Stroud and discovering a thriving creative community themselves.

The pair, who already have a number of residents or full-time freelancers based at their co-working office space in Stroud had to search for a new site when it became oversubscribed.

“We happened upon this place and it was perfect,” said Adam, a graphic designer and illustrator.

"Co-working is great, we get to share knowledge and ideas with each other. That's a big plus given the variety of creative people we have coming through our doors."

Cluster's new office has capacity for 12 residents to work in its space and five shared desks for people to drop in and out.

Marc, who among other projects designs apps for a company in Silicon Valley, said: “People move here and typically they end up working at home. We’re trying to find more people like us.”

Both Cluster and SpaceHoppers have also started Meetup groups in an effort to continue meeting fresh faces in the freelance field. Meetup is a platform or website which helps groups of people who have shared interests to connect with each other.

Go to and to join.