Announced by Finance Minister Conor Murphy on February 18, 2021, “Connect2 Hubs” is new civil service regional hubs that provide strategically located work and collaboration spaces for civil service staff.
Connect2 Hubs is designed to enable people to work closer to home therefore promotes regional economic balance, reduces carbon emissions, and promotes the work-life balance and health and wellbeing of the staff. Therefore, establishing hubs across the region that will allow civil servants to work closer to where they live subject of course to business requirements.
10 (ten) new remote working hubs are to be established in town centres across Northern Ireland over the next two years, the civil service is aiming to capitalise on new ways of working that have been developed during the Coronavirus pandemic. The plan will seek to utilise existing public buildings rather than embark on a new building programme.
The remote hubs, which provide similar facilities to main offices but closer to workers’ homes, are seen as a way to combine working from home with the traditional office experience, particularly for those who are based outside cities.
The first Connect2 Hubs are expected to open in Ballykelly and Downpatrick in the spring 2021. However, the Department of Finance noted that this will only happen “when appropriate in line with health advice and health protection regulations”.
The hubs opening this spring will be based at the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs site at Ballykelly, and Rathkeltair House in Downpatrick, where civil servants from DAERA, the Department for Infrastructure and other ministries are based.
Four further hubs are planned for Ballymena, Craigavon, Omagh, and the Antrim/Newtownabbey area next year, the DoF said. The final three hubs, in Derry/Londonderry, Enniskillen, Newry and the Bangor/Newtownards area, should open in 2023.