Work has begun on a £1.8 million redevelopment scheme to create new business space and improve life chances for aspiring entrepreneurs in Leeds.
The project to upgrade Leeds Media Centre in Chapeltown is a partnership venture between Unity Enterprise – a not-for-profit subsidiary of locally-based housing association Unity Homes and Enterprise – and Leeds City Council.
The centre is owned by Leeds City Council and managed by Unity Enterprise on a long-term lease.
The refurbishment work, which is part-funded by European Regional Development Fund, is due to be completed in June 2023.
The project will increase capacity within the Media Centre, by repurposing unused space for up to 12 new business units, alongside a bespoke business hub with hi-tech virtual facilities and meeting areas.
The renovation has a particular emphasis on boosting the energy efficiency of the building and ensuring the centre is fit for purpose for at least another 15 years.
The European Regional Development Fund’s contribution to the project also includes funding for a full-time business adviser to deliver a broad range of activity to support young businesses, particularly those working in the creative, digital and media sector.
In addition, Unity Enterprise is aiming to encourage BME entrepreneurs based in the local community to access support from the project.
Leeds Media Centre will remain open whilst the refurbishments are being carried out with new tenants continuing to be accepted.
Cedric Boston, Unity Homes and Enterprise Chief Executive, said:
“We want to create new entrepreneurs and promote entrepreneurial activity, especially around media and the creative industries.
“This project creates an opportunity for disadvantaged people from all ethnic backgrounds to set up their own business.
“They will receive all the help they need to improve their own skills and abilities and chart a bright new future for themselves and their families.
“This includes professional guidance on consolidating their ideas, creating a business plan and securing the necessary funds to establish a viable enterprise.
“With construction work now underway, I want people in the local community who may want to get involved to feel assured that this project will come to fruition in June next year.
“I invite them to start preparing themselves by getting in contact with Unity Enterprise for early advice and support.”
Cllr Jonathan Pryor, Deputy Leader of Council and Executive Member for Economy, Culture and Education at Leeds City Council, said:
“The refurbishment of Leeds Media Centre to create a vibrant workspace facility will attract new and young businesses from the creative, digital and media sectors to locate in Chapeltown.
“We are also delighted to be working alongside Unity Homes and Enterprise to deliver a dedicated business advice service which will support these enterprises to grow and create jobs in the local economy.”
Written by: Barry White