CROWDS flocked to the opening of a vibrant retail unit breathing life into Aberystwyth town centre.
The new Trading Space on Great Darkgate Street forms part of the innovative New Skills New Start programme, a UK Government initiative funded via the UK Community Renewal Fund, led by Ceredigion Council, and delivered by Antur Cymru Enterprise.
The shop will give independent entrepreneurs and sustainable, ethical start-ups a place to sell their wares, from arts and crafts to gifts, food and drink and more.
They will also have access to free training, business advice and resources including IT equipment and marketing support.
Among the first group to benefit from the space are custom lampshade venture Cardigan Bay Designs, sea glass pic company CreateEm, Eisa Tea Co, Coast to Country Arts – which make items from driftwood – Yoga Essentials, and Carousel, upcycling furniture and creating bespoke gifts from unwanted materials heading to landfill.
Project Manager Julie Morgan was thrilled to receive such glowing feedback on opening the doors for the first time and says the long-term objective is to roll the scheme out further in the future.
“But first we want to test the response here in Aberystwyth, where so far the reaction has been really positive, which is heartening given all the hard work which has gone into this,” said Julie.
“We have some fantastic businesses here already who are delighted to be a part of this project as it gives them a platform to display their products with the safety net of guidance and support from Antur Cymru.
“That will build confidence and give them vital experience to grow their businesses, all of which has a knock-on effect for the economy and supports town centre growth – it’s brilliant, and we thank everyone for being part of our launch event.”
Ceredigion MP Ben Lake was among those in attendance and praised the New Skills New Start project for bringing a fresh and progressive offering to the area.
“This is a wonderful unit, a continuation of how the scheme is supporting new businesses,” he said.
“It’s wonderful to see this space for traders to try out and test their retail offer and benefit from business advice, all in one place.
“I think it’s a great thing for Aberystwyth and is already causing a lot of excitement in the town.
“The idea could potentially be a template for how we make use of empty shops in high streets, so I wish all of the traders the very best of luck.”
For more information, visit the website www.anturcymru.org.uk/entrepreneurship/new-skills-new-start or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOTES: The UK Community Renewal Fund is a UK Government programme for 2021/22. This aims to support people and communities most in need across the UK to pilot programmes and new approaches to prepare for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. It invests in skills, community and place, local business, and supporting people into employment. For more information, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-community-renewal-fund- prospectus.