New temporary enterprise hub to help Great Yarmouth self-employed

The Greenwoods clothing store in Great Yarmouth has closed down, but the building is poised for a re

The Greenwoods clothing store in Great Yarmouth has closed down, but the building is poised for a return as a heritage centre Photo: George Ryan - Credit: Archant

A new temporary enterprise hub is to help self-employed people get on the road to success. 

Great Yarmouth Borough Council (GYBC) hopes to use the former Greenwoods store on the corner of Regent Road and King Street, for the hub - ahead of its later use as a heritage centre. 

It is hoped the hub, which will only operate until June, will offer valuable support to people in Yarmouth looking to start their own business - or those who have recently done so - through drop-in advice sessions, clinics and networking events.

The project is being established by the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) through its ‘Enabling Self Employment in Norfolk’ project, and the idea was presented to councillors at a meeting of GYBC’s economic development committee on Monday evening. 

The authority’s Labour opposition leader, Trevor Wainwright asked why such a high profile spot had been earmarked for the hub, when the former Greenwoods store had previously been touted as the site of a new heritage centre for the town

“I just wonder why everything on that [heritage] front has come to nothing, yet all of a sudden, we’re going to have a business hub in Greenwoods,” said Mr Wainwright. 

“That is right smack bang in the middle of our tourist centre, so are you are telling me that there is nowhere else in Yarmouth?”

Councillor Trevor Wainwright, leader of the Labour group in Great Yarmouth. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

Great Yarmouth Borough Council's Labour opposition leader, Trevor Wainwright - Credit: Archant

A council officer replied that the location had not yet been confirmed, and that others had been considered - such as in the Market Gates shopping centre.

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But she added that Greenwoods was an ideal size for the hub, and that the intention was for it to become a heritage centre, run by the Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust, after the pilot has finished in June. 

Conservative councillor Daniel Candon said he “fully supported” the project, which will boost “economic inclusion” in the town. 

The hub is planned to use £117,818 of funding from the government’s Community Renewal Fund (CRF), while an additional £30,000 has been committed by the Great Yarmouth Town Centre Partnership. 

Also involved are the Norfolk Chambers of Commerce, and GYBC itself - the latter of which intends to have two business advisors working at the hub.

The council hopes that if the trial is successful, it may be able to apply for funding for a similar, longer-term hub at another location.