The Antur Cymru Trading Space in Aberystwyth has relocated to the former post office on Great Darkgate Street and can now host up to 20 independent sellers.
Part of the innovative New Skills New Start programme – a UK Government initiative funded via the UK Community Renewal Fund, led by Ceredigion Council – the site is already proving popular with customers and held a bustling Christmas market over the weekend following an event to celebrate progress over the last 12 months.
Project Manager Julie Morgan is confident with further funding in 2023 the premises will continue to operate and provide a base for a variety of artisan firms including Hannah Jones Earrings, Queer Little Shop for LGBTQ+ merchandise, Ray of Light, Becws Welsh bakes, Wishing Well Crystals, Otter and Oak illustration, and Carys Doyle Ceramics.
She is proud of how the team helped build confidence in the scheme, delivered free one-to-one guidance and bespoke training, organised motivational presentations and workshops, and in total facilitated 31 sustainable, ethical start-up businesses at the store.
“Most importantly we’ve built their confidence and given these entrepreneurs, makers and producers a platform to showcase what they do,” said Julie.
“We are there to lay the foundations and to see so many of them build on that – growing their profiles and experience while also giving the people of Aberystwyth a new outlet to visit – has been really heartening.
“The scheme has received a lot of positive feedback and breathed new life into this part of town.”
The project has been so well-received it has garnered attention in other areas of Wales and could be rolled out to other counties in the future.
“We have learned a lot this year that will put us in a better position for 2023 and provide potential solutions and intelligence for similar ventures in other areas of the country,” said Julie.
“Retailers have struggled, and many forced to close but we’ve shown by collaborating and thinking outside the box there can be positives for high streets, bringing people together, being there for each other and generating ideas.
“That is more important than ever given the current economic climate and demonstrates how vital it is that small businesses and start-ups are given funding support and advice because they play such a big part in the regeneration of towns like Aberystwyth.”
For more information, visit the website www.anturcymru.org.uk/entrepreneurship/new-skills-new-start or email [email protected].
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.