A state-of-the-art business centre offering affordable office space and support to local businesses and social enterprises, has been officially opened in Chester.
The centre was opened by Chris Matheson, MP for Chester, who joined partners to celebrate the completion of this purpose-built facility.
Attendees included senior representatives from Sanctuary Group, Cheshire West and Chester Council, and the European Regional Development Fund, who have all helped finance the development. They were joined by the Lord Mayor Councillor Hugo Deynem and Lady Mayoress Deb Deynem, and Dr Martin Carey, from Urban Hope, who was one of the key players in establishing the model of Avenue Services.
The centre, built by Rowlinson Construction Ltd, will address the demand for quality business accommodation and provide much needed support for entrepreneurs and fledgling businesses in the region.
Facilities include office space and meeting rooms equipped with Wi-Fi and video conferencing facilities. Occupants benefit from flexible leases and rental incentives, as well as free business advice and support.
The Enterprise Centre also houses a library and community rooms which are already proving highly popular. Activities at the centre range from jobs clubs and birthday parties, to yoga classes and tea dances.
Specialists from Avenue Services, located at the Enterprise Centre, already provide support to almost 100 businesses, including Goodwin Meyer Hospitality, who provided the buffet for the event.
Guests were treated to an uplifting musical performance from Blacon schoolchildren who are members of arts group Theatre in the Quarter which receives funding and support from Avenue Services.
Alongside the centre, Sanctuary has developed 62 new affordable homes for rent, and refurbished existing shop frontages, as well as adding new children’s play area and green space.
Chris Matheson MP said: "The Enterprise Centre has breathed new life into the area and I was delighted to play a role in today’s official opening."
"The team from Avenue Services are not only helping to turn entrepreneurs’ ideas into reality, they are also encouraging members of the public to take advantage of the shared spaces, and the centre is fast becoming a popular focal point for the whole community to enjoy."
Ian McDermott, Sanctuary’s chief operating officer, commented: “It is thanks to our close collaborative working with Cheshire West and Chester Council, and other key partners, that we have successfully brought this project to fruition.
“The Enterprise Centre will provide the right environment for businesses to flourish and grow, and we hope this will lead to the creation of more jobs and bring a vital boost to the local economy in the future.”
Cheshire West and Chester Councillor Reggie Jones, who represents the Council on the board of Avenue Services added: “The partnership of Sanctuary, the Council and Avenue Services is important and will continue to grow for the benefit of residents.
“The official opening of the Parade Enterprise Centre marks the creation of a new civic centre for our community, which promotes pride and a very positive image for Blacon".
If you are interested in learning more about the services and office accommodation at the Enterprise Centre, please call 0300 123 1741.