MORE than £750,000 is being invested in a redundant Poole factory to transform it into a centre to create employment and learning.

The old Remploy factory in Alder Hills is subject to a five-year funding loan of £775,000 by the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership, together with help from Borough of Poole’s economic development team.

Renovation has begun on the factory building, which closed its doors in 2012, to create an innovative Social Enterprise Scheme by Sequal Solutions, the social enterprise arm of Bournemouth Churches Housing Association (BCHA).

When completed in autumn 2014 the centre will offer a variety of initiatives from a training and skills academy, recycling old furniture and bicycles, to gaining catering qualifications at the café, using home grown produce.

Gordon Page, Dorset LEP chairman, said: “Dorset LEP is delighted to be supporting this exciting and innovative initiative. We support social enterprises and want to see them thrive whilst creating more jobs and growth for Dorset. This is good news for everyone.”

Martin Hancock, chief executive of BCHA said: “We are very grateful to Dorset LEP for providing us with this funding to enable us to purchase and transform the old Remploy factory, bringing a former social enterprise site back to life.

“This Social Enterprise Centre will provide a vital resource for the local community.

“Not only will it create more jobs, it will also provide many opportunities for the people of Poole and Bournemouth and Dorset to learn new skills and achieve qualifications, helping them to gain employment.

“We are pleased to be in a position to improve and engage communities to a more sustainable lifestyle, and are delighted that Dorset LEP share our vision and commitment to re-investing back in to the community.”