£3million project gives empty shop new lease of life

An empty Newport shop is getting a new lease of life thanks to a £3million project to improve affordable housing in Newport. Mayor of Newport Cllr Margaret Cornelius cooked up a storm with Newport City Homes’ residents and staff at the opening of a new kitchen and bathroom showroom in a former shop in the Ringland Shopping Centre.


The new venture means that an empty unit has been transformed so residents of 620 homes across Broadmead, Moorland Park, Ringland and Royal Oak will be able to view kitchen and bathroom samples due to be fitted in homes between now and December 2012. Ian Williams, which is working with Newport City Homes to upgrade kitchens and bathrooms and rewire homes across the city, is opening the shop.


Residents attending the shop opening were given the chance to join in the celebrations, refreshments for all were provided and young people enjoyed cakes, sweets and balloons. Children’s activities were provided by Newport City Homes in their East Area office including a swap shop and badge making.


Mrs Hall of Playford Crescent, who recently had her kitchen refurbished by the Ian Williams team, said: “My kitchen is brilliant, they are lovely people and I couldn’t fault them. They kept me informed and the end result is fantastic.”


As well as bringing an empty shop back into use, Ian Williams is also investing in the local community by working with Newport City Homes to offer apprentice opportunities in the city.


Ian Williams’ resident liaison officer, Gemma Murphy, said: “The community shop is going to give residents the opportunity to come and see first-hand what the kitchens and bathrooms will look like once they are finished. There will always be a member of staff available so they can pop in and ask any questions they may have.”


Sinead O’ Neill, community engagement manager at Ian Williams, added: “We are committed to having a positive impact in the communities in which we work. This new shop is improving the outlook of the shopping centre by bringing the shop back to life. We are also committed to tackling unemployment and through our contract with Newport City Homes, we have been able to offer three apprenticeships to local people.”


Mervyn Green, Head of property services and investment at Newport City Homes said: “We are very pleased that Ian Williams has decided to use Ringland shopping centre as a base for the work they are carrying out in the community. Being in such close proximity to our East Area office makes this a convenient location for residents to discuss the upgrade works taking place”.


The shop will be open Monday to Friday from 9 to 10am, and from 3 to 4pm.

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