BUSINESSES in Chard and the surrounding area can now use the Enterprise Centre and benefit from its workspaces and support.

The new centre provided by Somerset Council, and based on Beeching Close, offers flexible office and light industrial workspace to support small and medium enterprises.

Costing £4.2m the Enterprise Centre has been made possible after successfully securing £1.7m funding from the European Regional Development Fund.

Chard Enterprise Centre forms part of a network of workspace services offered by Somerset Council.

The Enterprise Centre network aims to offer quality workspace and business support in areas where commercial providers do not operate.

There are currently 10 sites across the county and, in addition to Chard, there are centres in Highbridge, Dulverton, Wheddon Cross, Frome, Minehead, Wells, Williton, Wiveliscombe and Bruton.

Cllr Ros Wyke, executive lead member for Economic Development, Planning and Assets at Somerset Council, said: “As a council we want to enable local businesses to grow by providing the right accommodation and facilities alongside offering invaluable business support.

“Our Enterprise Centre network represents excellent value for money and, following the initial opening period, sites become self-financing longer term, with rental income covering running, maintenance, and renewal costs.

“This value is reinforced by independent reports for the three most recently opened centres – Wells, Wiveliscombe and Bruton - which identify a net return for every £1 invested ranging from £1.51 to £3.98.

“These three centres and Chard have leveraged over £5M of external grant funding in rural locations. This is money going directly to our local economy and, where possible, funds for building the centres have been spent with local contractors.”

The centre in Chard is already 49 per cent full and one of the first businesses to move in is Paramount Embroidery.

Owner Dean Roscoe explained why moving to the Enterprise Centre was the right move for his business: “Our move to the Enterprise Centre couldn't have come at a better time.

“We were bursting out of our old space and stumbled upon this gem online.

“The place has all the bells and whistles we need – it's modern, secure, and centrally located, ensuring our regular customers can still easily find us.

“Now, we're within reach of many more towns. It's the perfect upgrade for our growing business.”

Anna McGuire, owner of AM Healing, who has also recently moved into Chard Enterprise Centre, said: “Moving to the Chard Enterprise Centre has been a positive move for my Counselling Practice.

“I was searching for a space that offered the convenience of a private car park for myself and my clients, but also embraced views of greenery and privacy.

“The centre has delivered on all fronts. The feedback from my clients has been uplifting; they enjoy the peacefulness of the location and clients always comment on the premium ambience of room 8.

“I believe the Centre offers a perfect blend of comfort and professionalism and it's a privilege to grow my therapy business in such an inspiring environment.”