Work under way on Yarmouth's new enterprise hub

The empty Game unit in Market Gates.

The former Game store is currently being fitted out to become Great Yarmouth's new enterprise hub - Credit: James Weeds

Work is under way on fitting out Great Yarmouth’s former Game shop into a temporary enterprise hub for the town, officials have confirmed.

The shop, which had most recently been used as a walk-in Covid testing centre, is located in Market Gates shopping centre and will be transformed into a space offering support to people in Yarmouth looking to start their own business through drop-in advice sessions, clinics and networking events.

Vacant Game is a Covid testing site in Yarmouth

A Covid testing centre has been set up in Market Gates aimed at picking up asymptomatic cases and stopping the spread of the virus. - Credit: Liz Coates

The project is being established by the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) through its Enabling Self Employment in Norfolk project using £117,818 of funding from the government’s Community Renewal Fund (CRF) and £30,000 from the Great Yarmouth Town Centre Partnership.

The Norfolk Chambers of Commerce and Great Yarmouth Borough Council (GYBC) have also been involved with it. 

Two full-time business advisors have been appointed using the funding and the hub will be in place until December. 

An update on the project was presented to councillors at a meeting of GYBC’s economic development committee on Monday (May 23) evening. 

Labour councillor Cathy Cordiner-Achenbach said: “It feels this is still taking quite a long time to get going - do we actually know when we’re going to have feet on the ground?”

Cllr Cathy Cordiner-Achenbach, Labour party candidate for Southtown and Cobholm ward in Great Yarmou

Labour councillor Cathy Cordiner-Achenbach - Credit: Archant

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She also asked whether time and money was being unnecessarily spent fitting the space out, and whether a simple table and chairs arrangement would suffice, to enable the hub to open immediately. 

A council officer responded that the project had been repeatedly delayed in receiving, and then being able to use, government funding, since an initial bid for it was submitted in the summer of 2021. 

Regarding the timescales, he said: “As of last week, the fit-out is under way. The keys are with the Town Centre Partnership. They are covering the cost of that, not us, we’re not investing in that.”

And on the revamp of the space, he added: “It’s going to be basic. People aren’t expecting a lot of flashiness there. We’re talking desks, many of which will be upcycled, I think with some new flooring going in. 

“The site itself is a large glass-fronted unit…It should be warm and inviting, and by having people sitting in there, people should feel comfortable coming in and having those informal conversations.”