17 January, 2008 – Former Rochdale cotton mill re-opened as 'Unique Enterprise Centre'
Opened in mid-December, Rochdale's Unique Enterprise Centre offers space for start-up businesses with training and nursery and crèche facilities.
The centre is now home to the Kashmir Youth Project (KYP), an organisation set up in the 1970s by young men living in the Wardleworth area in a bid to bridge skills gaps. The top two stories of the building provide office space for local people looking to set up new businesses.
Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Andy Burnham, MP, officially opened the centre which was made possible with over a £1.5 million from SRB5 Revitalising Inner Rochdale Regeneration funding and significant contributions from the European Regional Development Fund and Neighbourhood Renewal Fund.
Operating on a not-for-profit basis, the project was developed in partnership between Rochdale Development Agency, Rochdale Council and the KYP.
The building, converted from a mill that had been disused for many years, complements extensive regeneration work benefiting the area through the Oldham Rochdale Housing Market Renewal Pathfinder, which will see many new homes built over the next eight years.
Mr Burnham said: "The services provided in the building have the potential to change the culture of young people thinking they can only be employees to thinking they could build businesses and actually be employers."
The centre provides a range of services, including:
18 managed workspace units
Training suite with ICT provision
Reception and conference facilities
20 place full day-care nursery
10 place crèche facilities
Ismail Fulat, CEO of KYP, said: "This is a truly remarkable day in our history after 28 years of hard work.
"This is just the beginning and we intend to build on our strengths and evolve to meet the needs of the community. Many partners came together to help make this centre a reality and we thank them all."
John Hudson, Chief Executive of Rochdale Development Agency, said the centre offers a holistic package of support: "A range of opportunities is provided at the centre from training in IT and languages to the provision of child-care, making it a one-stop shop for getting a business off the ground.
"Wardleworth is an area undergoing comprehensive regeneration and the centre will support the local economy. Coupled with the proposed health centre on Belfield Road and other employment proposals nearby, Unique Enterprise Centre will help kick start the transformation of the area."
Rochdale Mayor, Councillor Peter Evans, also praised the hard work of the Kashmir Youth Project at the launch along with Councillor Mohammed Shariff, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Rochdale MP Paul Rowen and Councillor Allen Brett.
Source: Rochdale Development Agency press release