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Community centre businesses in Keighley plan to create work
1:50pm Friday 25th October 2013 in News
A chain of businesses could be set up in Keighley community centres as part of an ambitious new job creation scheme.
Unemployed people in each neighbourhood will come together to develop products they could make and sell.
A host of Keighley organisations have agreed to provide support for the budding tycoons as they develop ideas. This is likely to include skills training, business advice, free shop space, legal support and facilities to design and make test products.
People who do not want to start their own business will be offered work experience or skills training.
The enterprise scheme, dubbed Opportunities for Keighley, is the brainchild of Michelle Bateson, a community officer with the union GMB, and district councillor Steve Pullen.
The pair hosted a meeting this week to outline their plans to local organisations and ask for concrete offers of support.
Michelle said several partners had signed up – Leeds City College, Keighley Fab Lab, Keighley Town Centre Association, Incommunities and Bradford Council’s Keighley area co-ordinator’s office.
She said many unemployed people might have good ideas for successful products or services, but needed help to turn them into profitable ventures.
She added: “I thought there’s not a lot of jobs out there, so let’s create our own. I was out of work myself so I know what it’s like.
“We will work in community centres and with groups where people are encouraged to come together. The opportunities are endless.”
The initiative has already kicked off with Michelle supporting a new catering business run by clients of alcohol and drugs agency Project 6.
Coun Pullen, who represents Keighley East ward on Bradford Council, believes the scheme could eventually create dozens of new jobs.
He said: “It’s a completely new way of dealing with issues in the town. We’re looking for funding to get a co-ordinator.
“There are already lots of different partners and more are interested. We want to get schools, businesses and community centres involved.”