Building work started today on a new enterprise and employment centre in east Edinburgh when Councillor Frank Ross made the first excavation at Duddingston Yards.
The centre is being developed by leading social enterprise Forth Sector, which operates businesses in the City that provide opportunities for unemployed people with mental health conditions, learning and physical disabilities to acquire training and work-experience to help them into employment.
The 23,000 sq ft facility will include light industrial and office space and will incorporate state-of-the-art training and support facilities for up to 1000 people a year. Development has been funded by The Big Lottery, the Scottish Investment Fund, Venturesome and the Cooperative Bank. Design and building work is being carried out by Project Management and Construction Ltd who have pledged to recruit local people and contractors for the construction.
Chief Executive of Forth Sector Mike Finlayson commented: "People disadvantaged through disability, including mental health conditions experience the highest levels of unemployment in Scotland. This ground-breaking facility will provide them with a place where they can receive training, support and crucially work-experience in a work environment in competitive businesses. It will also provide essential space where our businesses can flourish, bringing enterprise and much needed jobs to this part of the City. We are hugely grateful to the Big Lottery, the Scottish Investment Fund and our other investors for making this important development possible".
Cllr Tom Buchanan, Convener of the Economy Committee, said: "We are delighted that Forth Sector are using this vacant site to provide a service which will bring employment and enterprise to the Craigmillar and Niddrie area. The centre compliments our considerable investment in the area as well as fitting in perfectly with our Strategy for Jobs."
Alastair Davis, Chief Executive of Social Investment Scotland which manages the Scottish Investment Fund said: "Forth Sector plays an invaluable role within the Lothians in helping aid the recovery of those with mental health problems through employment. With funding from the Scottish Investment Fund alongside other providers, this new centre will help them increase the capability and capacity of the whole organisation, resulting in some very clear and positive benefits on local communities."