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Switch Now, provider of supported training and work experience to develop employability skills to young adults with learning difficulties / disabilities, is expanding its support services, thanks in part to new commercial letting negotiated by Barford+Co.

Launched by Co Directors Catherine Fairholm and Mark Hawking as a community interest company in 2015, Switch Now immediately made an impression in St Neots; with the directors realising that the desire for their services in the town would require dedicated premises more quickly than they had initially anticipated.  

With their knowledge of Barford+Co as a prominent business in the town, Mark and Catherine spoke to the team before even being ready to proceed, to start to build a relationship with the organisation that they knew could help find the right property for them. 

It was important to Mark and Catherine to find a property that provided them the space they needed, but with the room to grow and at a price they could afford.  Commenting on the challenge, Co-Director at Switch Now Mark Hawking said:

“The Barford team worked with us closely over many months, to help us define exactly what we needed. As soon as we walked into the building that is now our base, we immediately knew that it was the place for us to house and build the Switch Now portfolio. It’s testament to Barford’s strong listening ear that they were able to present us with a property that gave us everything that we wanted. Working collaboratively with the local community and partner organisations is a big part of our ethos; Barford+Co not only understood those values but embodied them too, at every point of our work with them.” 

The new premises at 13 Foundry Way, St Neots provides a well needed base for the company. Since picking up the keys, the Switch Now co-working team have all been involved in getting the premises ready for use – decorating, building and reconfiguring the layout to suit their needs. This has created workshop and retail enterprise spaces which will boost the range of vocational opportunities that the team of co-workers can be involved in. It has also given Switch Now dedicated office space to help grow and build on the success of the business. There’s also new investment to create a commercial kitchen on site which is going to further add to Switch Now’s portfolio of training that it can provide for its co-workers.

Speaking about the recent letting, Associate Director at Barford+Co, Howard Westgate said: “As a business in St Neots, Barford+Co have seen the impact Switch Now has made across the local community and are very pleased to have negotiated a letting for them that will help the company go from strength to strength.”

With a wealth of knowledge gained and brought from teaching and working with young people with learning difficulties and disabilities in Cambridgeshire, Co Directors Catherine Fairholm and Mark Hawking founded Switch Now; with recognition that there was a clear gap in the market in the St Neots locality for a provision of this type. The initiative was recognised with a St Neots Community Award in 2016, in light of the impact they have made across the town.

​The letting of commercial property is a core part of the Barford+Co offering; with its commercial agency team benefiting from significant experience and expertise in selling and letting commercial premises and land throughout Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire.


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