With Brighton attracting headlines for being considered a digital hub for freelance creative workers, the Worthing area has been considered as something of a poor relation.
But that’s fast starting to change with the emergence of Worthing Digital, offering an informal space for those making their way in the online world who’d rather be sociable than bunkered-down in a home office.
As its founder, IT contractor Mark Ford, revealed, meeting up together as fellow digital professionals is allowing them valuable networking time, which has led to genuine employment opportunities.
“I started using Twitter several years ago as most of the people I know are on there and thought of organising a ‘Tweet up’ with them all. Out of that came our original group, Worthing Thing, which brought together people who were web developers and marketing types, which was a good start,” said Mark of the group, which has found a new base at Barneys in Portland Road.
“We were needing to find a new location for meeting up and it was then that it was suggested we change our name to Worthing Digital, which sounded more professional.
“It has been going well. I couldn’t have done it without the support of friends like David Rosam who did the very first Tweet Up with me,” added the web specialist. “I’ve found it very rewarding – I love getting out and meeting people each month and I’m excited about some of the links we’ve made with companies including Fresh Egg, who have been really positive about it.”
The group is now staging regular events including talks from dynamic internet experts. Its relaxed atmosphere has already seen a number of converts, such as Worthing-based IT systems project worker James Bradshaw.
He explained working from home had advantages but having social contact through Worthing Digital had offered a valuable support network.
He said: “With my work I’ve become quite aware of social media and I was aware of groups out there such as one known as Brighton Farm, which a lot of freelance people go to.
“But I thought there must be something for people who live in Worthing. So I started coming along to the meetings in Worthing. Everyone really helps each other.”
n Worthing Digital meets monthly at Barneys. Tonight (March 29, 8pm) it stages an event at Fresh Egg in Buckingham Road on using digital tablets. It starts from 8pm. Visit worthingdigital.com