Tech entrepreneur Eddie Whittingham says his new co-working space Ministry of Work is a viable alternative to people fed-up of driving into city centres like Manchester.

The founder of cyber security business The Defence Works has just opened the doors to the Ministry of Work on Swinton and is already attracting rave reviews.

What makes the space unusual is it used to be Manchester Road Methodist Church in a former life before Whittingham set about breathing new life into the old chapel.

It’s situated four miles outside of Manchester city centre and is a stone’s throw away from the A580 East Lancs Road.

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“Ministry of Work is aimed at entrepreneurs who are less likely to want to go into town and do the commute,” explained Whittingham.

“So far we’ve attracted people who’ve got kids, don’t want to do the commute but want a place that is as good as what you find in the city centre.

“I’ve got a four-year-old and a two-year-old and I want to spend more time with them.”

Prior to becoming a property entrepreneur, Whittingham’s founded Manchester-based cyber security business The Defence Works in 2016 before selling it to NASDAQ listed company, Proofpoint, in 2020.

Aged in his mid 30s he was too young to retire when his life took an unexpected twist.

“I’d been looking for properties that would be quirky enough to attract people to an out-of-town venue as a co-working space,” he recalled.

Ministry of Work office

It was at that point that he stumbled across the Manchester Road Methodist Church in Swinton, which was laying empty.

Combined with buying the building in 2022, Whittingham has spent around £1m transforming it into a co-working space that can compete with anything in the city centre.

In total it boasts 36 co-working desks; eight private offices for up to six people; a purpose-built podcast and content studio; and a choice of break-out spaces. The office is powered by 48 solar panels.

Award-winning video content specialist What Media has already swapped its city centre location for a dedicated office at Ministry of Work and will be able to take advantage of the new podcast studio.

With a hot desk costing £200 a month; a dedicated desk £250; and a private office £1,200 plus VAT, the co-working is as competitive as anything in the city centre.

“It’s primarily aimed at entrepreneurs with small teams,” he said. “The train station is a five-minute walk away and our catchment at the minute has typically been Swinton, Worsley,  Monton and Eccles.

“I think there will be a lean towards the independent operator. A lot of people don’t enjoy the faceless co-working space. I’ll be working here and my passion is startups.”

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To find out more email Eddie Whittingham.