DORSET’S creative and digital workers have a new event to put on their social calendars following concerns that the sector was no longer meeting the way it used to.

Speak Easy follows in the tradition of events such as the now defunct Meetdraw, which brought people at all levels in the industry together socially.

A summit hosted earlier this year by the support service Silicon South heard that many of the conferences and networking events that used to take place in the local industry had stopped even before the pandemic.

Speak Easy has been organised independently by a group of volunteers who “miss seeing our amazing industry out in the wild and off a screen”.

The initial event, on Thursday, July 7, at Ojo Rojo in Bournemouth, is sold out and has a waiting list after being promoted on Silicon South’s social channels.

Curtis Williams, founder of web and app agency Agitate Digital, said: “It’s not formal networking, it’s more social networking.”

He said the aim was to “connect the network of people that work in digital and tech industries”.

Becky Willis, new business director at Just After Midnight, said: “We’re all from different levels of seniority. You’ve got senior directors, people starting out in their careers. We’re a group of people who just care about bringing the community together.”

“Given how we were all working remotely, everything became more siloed, everything became more isolated.

“That’s where Meetdraw left a hole and a more pressing need to follow it.”

At Silicon South’s event Ready For Take-Off, held in April, there were calls for the sector to work together to attract more people into the area rather than compete for the same talent.

Speaker Matt Desmier said then: “We’ve got nearly 40 agencies that are bigger than the national average and we’ve got nowhere where they meet up or do anything.”

Frankie Meyrick, senior marketing executive at Silicon South, said: “We could all be worried about poaching each other’s staff but you can’t build the community unless you’re willing to collaborate with each other. And that’s ultimately where this came from. It’s a shared desire that we’re all willing to work towards while being passionate about our own interests.”

Toby Pestridge, senior product designer at Spyrosoft in Bournemouth, said such events would also help students at the town's two universities. "Students are being told as part of your course you’ve got to go to a social event and you need to engage with the community and see what’s going on," he said.

Future events will be publicised at