A RESTAURANT which almost went to another town has created 14 jobs in Bournemouth with the help of the resort’s National Coastal Tourism Academy.

Seven of the staff hired at Quarters Chicken in Southbourne were previously unemployed.

Clive Mace, owner of the Grove Tavern in Southbourne, was one of the first businesses to take part in a one-to-one business interview with the academy. He revealed that he was searching for new premises but was being thwarted.

Mr Mace said: “I was actually giving up on finding anything in Southbourne and was considering premises in Southampton.

“But thankfully the National Coastal Tourism Academy (NCTA) provided me with business data including Bournemouth Council’s Seafront Strategy, visitor surveys and key industry contacts that allowed me to put together a business plan and seize an opportunity the minute it arose.”

The business opened in Seabourne Road last month. “We’re thrilled to say the restaurant has been extremely busy since the day it opened. It’s always a challenge launching a new business but I’m delighted to say prospects so far are looking great and I’m grateful to the NCTA for their help,” he added.

All of Mr Mace’s staff at the Grove Tavern and Quarters have taken the free Bournemouth Ambassador online training. The academy is working with Mr Mace to create a customer feedback system.

Academy director Samantha Richardson said: “Helping to create jobs and lift the local tourism economy is the very reason the NCTA came into being. Mr Mace is clearly dedicated to the local area and it’s great to see a number of formerly unemployed young people now in work.

“His was one of the very first businesses we consulted with when we started just over one year ago, so it’s a tremendous result.”

She said any ‘visitor-facing’ business could have a personal business consultation.

The academy is a partnership between the borough council, Bournemouth University and the tourism industry, funded by the Department of Communities and Local Government for an initial two years.