Ilkeston social enterprise café-shop officially opens

L-R: Project manager Lisa Harrison, Denis Bell, Ann Simpson of The Project, Erewash Council leader Chris Corbett.
L-R: Project manager Lisa Harrison, Denis Bell, Ann Simpson of The Project, Erewash Council leader Chris Corbett.

An exciting social enterprise café-shop in Ilkeston has been officially opened by the director of a business who were key supporters of the project.

Dennis Bell, 63, the commercial director of Ward Recycling, was invited to cut the ribbon at The Project in Bath Street on Monday, February 6.

Lisa Harrison, who works across many of the Arena Church projects, and Dennis Bell, commercial director of Project supporter Ward Recycling.

Lisa Harrison, who works across many of the Arena Church projects, and Dennis Bell, commercial director of Project supporter Ward Recycling.

The waste management company was involved in the two-year refurbishment of the former Woolworths building, including carrying out an asbestos survey, renovation work and donating skips.

Dennis said: “The Project is set to be an important part of the community and will go towards helping many people.

“That’s why Ward were happy to help in any way we could and we will continue to give our support as it grows over the coming years. I was delighted to be asked to cut the ribbon at the official opening.”

Work to establish The Project was funded by Erewash Borough Council and led by Arena Church, an organisation which Ward has also helped to establish a food bank and a community sensory garden.

Ward also purchased a mini bus to pick children from struggling families up from school and take them for a hot meal at the food bank.

The Project is a café, furniture shop and vocational training centre aiming to bring opportunity and enterprise to the town centre.

Arena Church pastor Kristian Thorpe said: “The project is a place of trade where all profits go back into the community but also a place of training, partnering with local businesses and getting people back to work.

“This has been a journey for us as we have refurbished and brought a very tired looking iconic building back into its full use. There have been so many people that have helped and supported us along the journey and we feel it’s important to thank them.”