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Building phase complete at revamped Leeds Media Centre

Building work has been successfully completed in a major redevelopment of Leeds Media Centre to create extra business space and new opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs in the city.

£1.8 million scheme is being delivered by Unity Enterprise – a not-for-profit subsidiary of housing association Unity Homes and Enterprise – in partnership with Leeds City Council.

It has been part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund including support for a professional adviser to mentor young businesses, particularly those in the creative, digital and media sectors.

The construction phase began last autumn with scaffolding erected around the perimeter of the building in Chapeltown in preparation for the installation of a new roof and windows.

Extensive internal works have also been undertaken to remodel the ground and lower ground floors to facilitate up to 12 new business units and a specially designed business hub with modern virtual facilities.

The completion of the refurbishment programme will be celebrated at a community gathering in September with a separate event planned for the following month focusing on the new business hub.

Leeds Media Centre is owned by Leeds City Council and managed by Unity Enterprise on a long-term lease.

Cedric Boston, Unity Homes and Enterprise chief executive, said: “It is incredibly satisfying to see the building phase of this transformational project completed on time and on budget.

“Anticipation is already building around what the new facilities will achieve for enterprise in Chapeltown and beyond.

“As a housing association rooted in the local community, Unity is passionately committed to helping individuals improve their life prospects by setting up their own business, finding employment or accessing training and education.

“The brand new facilities at Leeds Media Centre will play a huge role in enabling us to achieve these goals.”

Adrian Green, Unity Enterprise manager, said: “We are grateful to our key partners, Leeds City Council and the European Regional Development Fund, for working closely with us to get this innovative project across the line.

“Having been onsite almost every day since building work commenced, I feel greatly inspired by the potential that Leeds Media Centre now offers to aspiring entrepreneurs to develop themselves and their business ideas.

“I also want to thank our existing tenants who have been so supportive and patient over the past few months.  Exciting times lie ahead.”

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Picture Cedric Boston, Unity Homes and Enterprise chief executive (left), and Adrian Green, Adrian Green, Unity Enterprise manager (right), with Matthew Abbott, R.H. Fullwood & Co Ltd site manager, at the newly refurbished Leeds Media Centre European Regional Development Fund The project will receive up to £929k of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regeneration. For more information visit Unity Homes and Enterprise Unity Housing Association was formed in 1987 with the objective of building a strong, BME-led, community housing association to address the needs of black and minority ethnic communities in Leeds.  The initial focus was on Chapeltown, but this has widened to other areas of the city including Harehills, Beeston, Holbeck, Chapel Allerton and Pudsey.  Alongside two schemes in Huddersfield, a new affordable housing development has recently been completed in Cleckheaton.  With a turnover of £6.8 million and an annual investment in new and existing homes of around £6.5 million, Unity now manages over 1,350 properties for tenants from all communities and ethnic backgrounds. In 2000 the association established its not-for-profit subsidiary company, Unity Enterprise, to support local entrepreneurial activity.  It now provides 142 affordable business units for more than 80 diverse businesses across three centres in Leeds. Unity Employment Services (UES) was set-up in 2011 to support Unity tenants and their surrounding communities in accessing employment and training opportunities.  It has since supported more than 1,700 individuals into work and training.

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