Champion of the Week
Joby Parsons, Events & Sales Coordinator at West Studios
I’m Joby Parsons, the Events & Sales Coordinator for West Studios, Chesterfield College. Within my role I am responsible for coordinating the daily operations of the West Studios centre, the commercial hiring of the wider college estate, and planning a range of events to engage local creative professionals and the community.
West Studios was launched in August 2014 as a creative project of Chesterfield College and was funded through the European Regional Development Fund. It has since developed into a busy hub for Chesterfield’s creative community and is home to 15 local businesses, artists, charities and start-ups within 4 shared studios and 2 private studios. There are also 3 bookable meeting & event spaces, monthly exhibitions and a shop selling work from local artists and creative businesses.
How would you describe Chesterfield and North Derbyshire, using only three words?
Friendly, supportive, historic.
What are your favourite places to visit in Chesterfield and why?
Chesterfield has many great places to visit so it’s difficult to choose just one however during the summer I enjoy walks around Poolsbrook Country Park, which is local to where I live.
How is your business becoming more sustainable?
We are trying to become more digital and less paper-based, we encourage staff & tenant businesses to think about their electricity use and make sure lights & electrical equipment are turned off when they’re not in use, and we use biodegradable cups & lids for our hot drinks.
Why do you love working or doing business in Chesterfield or North Derbyshire?
There’s a fantastic community spirit amongst Chesterfield businesses and a wide range of business support available to businesses. This has led to some fantastic collaborations between local businesses and a great range of local events.
How are you supporting young people in your business?
West Studios offers a range of work-experience programmes to the students of Chesterfield College. These include our ‘Young Contemporaries’, where we assist young artists to put on their own group exhibition, and offer design and admin positions frequently throughout the year.
How are you, your business or your team supporting local people?
West Studios continues to be a creative hub for the community, with workshops, events, and exhibitions happening throughout the year. The exhibitions are free for anyone who wishes to come and view them, while the workshops and events are aimed at the local community and to support small businesses.
Which upcoming development do you think will have the greatest impact on the town and why?
The renovation project for Stephenson Memorial Hall. The project will breathe new life into the Pomegranate Theatre and Chesterfield Museum and gallery, and make them bigger attractions for the town. The project will also position the museum and theatre into the heart of the community with the addition of education and community facilities.
What is your vision for Chesterfield and North Derbyshire in 2030? What do you think the town needs to achieve this?
My vision for Chesterfield and North Derbyshire is that the town’s small businesses and independent shops continue to grow and are supported by the local community. The local community needs to research the types of small independent businesses we have within town and make an active choice to spend their money with them.