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Shankill economy gets £1.7 million boost

Published on:  29 Nov 2006

An extension to a Shankill business park that could create up to 100 new jobs was launched today.

Local schoolchildren Paul Clarke (Belfast Model) and Lauren Black (Glenwood Primary) cut the first sod for the £1.7 million expansion to the Argyle Business Centre. Established in 1989 - with the help of funding from the International Fund for Ireland, Belfast Regeneration Office and the former Local Enterprise Development Unit - the centre already employs 88 people.  The extra business units have the potential to create a further 100 jobs.  Belfast Regeneration Office, through Invest Northern Ireland, Argyle and Belfast City Council have contributed to the second phase of this already highly successful project.

Social Development Minister David Hanson MP welcomed the boost to regeneration in the Greater Shankill area.  He said:  “The investment of over £900,000 by my Department’s Belfast Regeneration Office send a clear signal of our confidence in the future of industry in the Shankill.  The Argyle Business Centre has already shown that personal enterprise can be nurtured through the provision of affordable work space.  I am sure that the new expansion will further stimulate the growth of both new and established business.  This is very much in line with the objectives of both the International Fund and Government’s Neighbourhood Renewal and Renewing Communities strategies.”

Jackie Hewitt, a member of Board of the International Fund for Ireland said:  “We are delighted to have been able to assist with the development of the original business units at Argyle as well as the planned extension of the business centre.  The development of the work space will enable Argyle Business Centre Ltd to continue to tackle commercial exclusion and contribute to the promotion of new business in the Greater Shankill area.”

Jim Carvill, Chairman of Argyle Business Centre Limited, said:   “Over the years Argyle has assisted many new start-up businesses.  There are currently 88 people employed in small businesses at Argyle with an annual salaries and wages bill of circa £1 million, which contributes significantly to the local economy. 

“The Argyle Board of Directors are grateful for the funders’ financial assistance towards this new extension, which will further assist in addressing the economic deprivation in this area.  When fully occupied it is expected that the new extension will support a further 100 jobs and create an additional revenue stream, enabling Argyle to do much more within Argyle and in promoting and supporting personal enterprises in the Greater Shankill area”.  

Congratulating the centre, Brian Howe, Chief Executive, Ulster Community Investment Trust (UCIT) said:  “UCIT are delighted to be associated with the project.  There is no doubt that Argyle Business Centre has had a significant social and economic impact on the local area and that this will be further enhanced by the new extension.

The extension project will provide a further 3,558 square metres of workspace in a total of 12 new units at the rear of the existing units.  It is expected that the units will be ready for occupation in April 2007.

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