A state-of-the-art business centre is now officially open with businesses and social enterprises able to benefit from affordable office space and support.
The Enterprise Centre was opened by Chester MP Chris Matheson, who joined partners to celebrate the completion of the purpose-built facility that forms part of the £15m redevelopment of the Blacon Parade.
It is managed by Avenue Services – a joint venture between Sanctuary Group and Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC).
Attendees at the opening ceremony included senior representatives from Sanctuary, CWaC and the European Regional Development Fund, who have all helped finance the project. They were joined by Chester Lord Mayor Cllr 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 Parade Enterprise Centre also houses a library and community rooms. Current activities at the centre range from job clubs and birthday parties, to yoga classes and tea dances.
Specialists from Avenue Services, located at the centre, already provide support to almost 100 businesses, including Goodwin Meyer Hospitality, who provided the buffet for the opening event.
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.”
Blacon 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.”
Anyone interested in learning more about the services and office accommodation at the Enterprise Centre can call 0300 123 1741.