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Leeds Media Centre refurbishment gaining pace

Swift progress is being made on a £1.8 million redevelopment scheme which will create additional business space and improve life chances for aspiring entrepreneurs in Leeds.

Scaffolding his been erected around Leeds Media Centre in Chapeltown in preparation for the installation of a new roof and modern windows.

Internal works are already well underway to remodel the ground and lower ground floors to create space for up to 12 new business units and a bespoke business hub with hi-tech virtual facilities.

The project, due for completion this summer, 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 is part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund including support for a full-time business adviser to assist young businesses, with an emphasis on those working in the creative, digital and media sector.

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:

“This major refurbishment project will significantly expand the affordable space we can offer local people wanting to launch their own business.

“We are particularly excited about the new business hub which will enable start-up enterprises to grow quickly without the burden of high overhead costs.

“Richard Altoro, our full-time business adviser, will take the lead in community outreach work, engage with prospective entrepreneurs who may be considering setting up a business and help to create pathways which can make this a viable career option.”

Adrian Green, Unity Enterprise manager, said:

“Working closely with our partners, we are delighted that the project is on time and on budget.

“Alongside Unity Business Centre and Chapeltown Enterprise Centre, Leeds Media Centre is one of three locations close to Leeds city centre operated by Unity Enterprise.

“Collectively, they provide 142 affordable business units for more than 80 diverse businesses employing over 750 people.

“We look forward to these numbers rising further when the works are complete.”

Cllr Jonathan Pryor, deputy leader of Leeds City Council and executive member for economy, culture and education at Leeds City Council, said:

“It’s great to see this project gathering momentum as we get one step closer to its completion date.

“Being able to provide further affordable options to aspiring entrepreneurs within the local area is fantastic, and further extends and builds on our excellent ecosystem for innovation across the city.”

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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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