Essex community centre to become Jewellery Village

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Temporary Braintree space to house start-ups & small jewellery firms.

A former community centre in Braintree, Essex, is set to undergo redevelopment to become a temporary Jewellery Village, offering business space for start-up jewellery companies.

The Old Community Centre in Braintree has been earmarked for development by Ignite Business Enterprise, a company that specialises in aiding about 150 new businesses each year to get off the ground by offering, among other things, consultancy for SMEs, virtual offices and mentoring. 

The move follows demand for Ignite’s established start-up units at its head office in Springwood Drive, Braintree. The company said it is taking over the building temporarily as additional, affordable office space for small businesses in the area with the aim of attracting shoppings into Braintree from the nearby Freeport outlet shopping centre. A free shuttle bus runs to and from the outside of the Community Centre to Freeport which is anticipated to boost footfall.

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Ignite managing director Liz Storey said: "I have pledged to those getting involved that if this scheme goes well will resite it to a new location. Those taking up one of the incubator spaces at the Jewellery Village will pay about £25 a week, as we understand jewellers are very diverse in their backgrounds, they might have a young family or be retired, so we offer them a reasonable rate."

The large, main hall of the building is set to be converted into a retail space housing the Jewellery Village. The Village will offer jewellery makers an affordable space where they can sell their products to people visiting Braintree. 

Ignite is in the process of accepting applications for the space from jewellery designers and new businesses. It recently received £86,500 funding as part of the Portas scheme, which it has put towards pop-up shops and markets for local business and craftspersons.

It is understood that the temporary space will be demolished in the next 12 to 18 months to make way for the Henry Boots centre, a shopping centre with a hotel and other facilities.

 

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