Former money lenders office will now help turn Blackpool lives around

A former money-lenders office is set for a new lease of life providing support for people who are looking to turn their lives around.

By Shelagh Parkinson
Friday, 5th August 2022, 4:37 pm

The ACT Community Partnership, a community interest company offering advice, counselling and training, has been granted planning permission to open a new centre in South Shore.

The premises on the corner of Waterloo Road and Bond Street were previously operated as a pawn broker and money lender's office, but have been empty for around five years.

Documents submitted with the planning application say the ACT Centre will provide services including welfare rights advice and help for job seekers.

This former pawn brokers is set for a new lease of life

It will work with a number of other community groups "all of which are specialists in their own respective fields and have fully qualified staff to support their work who will use the centre on a daily basis to deliver their services."

Sessions will include teaching basic skills in maths, English and IT as well as "training to support people into employment", while mental health counselling will also be offered.

Five members of staff are expected to be based at the centre, as well as volunteer counsellors and tutors when required.

The work of the centre is being supported by Counselling In The Community CIC, Blackpool Centre for the Unemployed (welfare rights and advice) and St Antony's Centre (community training provider).

The proposed hours of use of the premises would be 8am to 7pm Sundays to Thursdays, and 8am to 10pm Fridays and Saturdays.

Council planners approved the application using their delegated powers.

A report setting out the decision says: "Economically, it would create jobs for the people who run the centre but also will provide opportunities to train residents to enhance their own employment opportunities and increasetheir chances in the job market.

"Environmentally, the change of use would be sustainable development which would bring a redundant building back into use, enhance the exterior of building which would enhance the appearance and character of the district centre.

"Socially, the development would create sustainable economic development to strengthen the local economy and meet the employment needs of Blackpool."