Funding has been secured for a new centre that will help people in Brighton & Hove to find jobs and start businesses. Organisers hope to have the centre ready for business by August 2007. In the meantime they are seeking tenants for offices and workspaces.
The centre will have up-to-date business start-up facilities, IT training, hot-desking office space, library, crèche and a café. And a competition will soon be launched to find a name for the centre that reflects its ‘open-to-all’ ethos.
Brighton & Hove City Council, the city's Regeneration Partnership and the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA), through the Single Regeneration Budget (SRB) scheme, have supported this project for six years and assisted in securing the new premises for the centre.
Investment has also come from the Big Lottery and the government-backed Adventure Capital Fund (ACF).
The centre will be managed by the Black and Minority Ethnic Community Partnership (BMECP) and based in the city’s New England Quarter near Brighton Station.
BMECP trustee and company Secretary, Charles Boustany, said: “BMECP was initiated from a community meeting back in 1999 with a single purpose - to establish, develop and maintain a Resource Centre based on the results of a year long community consultation. We are therefore ecstatic to announce, that despite the heartaches, barriers, challenges, hard work and prejudices, BMECP trustees and staff stayed the course, achieved the aspirations of our communities by performing several miracles on the way. Of course this was a team effort that included stakeholders and professional advisors who stood by us, supported and guided us on this arduous, long journey. For your patience, your belief in us and your resolve we thank you.”
Liz McSheehey, SEEDA area director for Surrey and Sussex, said, “We have been actively involved in this project since 2000. It has been a long and at times difficult journey to secure the funding for the centre. But we are very pleased that, working alongside our partners, we have been able to help deliver to the black and minority ethnic communities the ability to engage in regeneration through establishing their own resource centre.”
Council acting director of cultural services Scott Marshall said, “This centre is all about helping people help themselves to stand on their own feet. It has been another good example of the council working with local partners and government at regional level to secure major investment in the city.”
Regeneration Partnership chair Peter Field said, “We are delighted the centre can now go ahead. This is the only major project the Partnership had outstanding and we are really pleased that not only will the BMECP and the city get an excellent new facility, but it also means our 10 year programme, which has brought close on £150 million investment into the city, is complete.”
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