The pandemic hit hard, with so many local businesses suffering financially but community interest companies, like RAW35 were impacted on another level, losing the one thing at their very core. Community. With the whole country locked down at home, many businesses found themselves without the workshops, catch-ups and coffee mornings that linked them to the community in which they lived. We popped into RAW35’s new studio in The BIS to chat to director Frankie Cox about why community is so important..
How did your business begin?
Whilst working overseas for almost 20 years I was involved in lots of photography communities, I realised how much photography helped me meet other liked minded people and how good it was for my own mental health, so I decided when I returned to the UK I was going to establish a photography business, which would allow me to operate as a photographer and enable me to run a photography community, which is now RAW35 c.i.c
What do you love most about running your own business?
Running your own business gives you control and flexibility, so you can decide what’s important and how to run things, plus in our business we promote the social side of community groups, which is great fun and very rewarding.
Why is it important for people to shop local?
All local communities thrive on having lots of interesting things to do and places to go, this can only be possible if people invest locally. Keeping ones spending in our town will help grow new business and make it a better place for all.
What are you doing to recover after the pandemic?
Unfortunately the pandemic hit our community business hard and we had to close our business premises, but thanks to government support we have recovered and moved into a new workspace, we are really optimistic about RAW35’s future.
What is your idea of a perfect day out in Hartlepool?
As a photographer I really enjoy fresh Autumn mornings out with my camera, taking pictures in the Town, followed by some breakfast at one of the local independent coffee shops.
If you could learn a new skill what would it be?
There is so much I still want to learn about photography, the technology is changing all the time and I am always looking to learn new skills.