Conference centre to bring jobs and boost to Skegness economy

Alan Bailey in the Storehouse's undeveloped conference area.
Alan Bailey in the Storehouse's undeveloped conference area.

A thousand seater conference centre is hoped to open in Skegness next year, creating year-round jobs and boosting the town’s economy with inward investment.

The New Day Christian Centre hopes to launch phase three of its Storehouse project at the derelict skating rink it transformed into a thriving cafe and community hub on North Parade last year.

The venture is expected to create dozens of jobs for local tradesmen during its construction period and at least 15 year-round positions when it begins hosting conferences - each of which are forecasted to boost the local economy by up to £200,000.

Conference and community manager Alan Bailey believes the centre will be the crowning glory of what his church has already achieved through months of dedicated hard work.

He said: “If you can get a vision that inspires people, that’s the key, and we are passionate about improving Skegness and restoring our community.

“Once it opens everything else will grow exponentially - as the conference grows bigger and bigger so too will the rest of our projects

“It will also affect everything around the town from local businesses and hotels through to car parking revenue.

“We’ve had a lot of interest in conferences already including televised sporting events, political party meetings and theatrical performances - I see it as a loss for the town that we’ve not been able to host these things already.”

All profits generated by the centre will be reinvested in the local economy, just as the cafe has done, and could fund further ambitious projects including social housing initiatives and training schemes to help unemployed young people.

The first two phases of the Storehouse project, which cost around £200,000, were funded entirely by the New Day Christian Centre but the conference centre will require additional support from European grants.

Town manager Stefan Krause and the Skegness Partnership have applied for £4.2 million through the European Regional Development Fund to achieve a number of projects in the town, including the conference centre.

Mr Bailey has welcomed Mr Krause’s support, which may see his aspirations realised sooner than initially expected if the bid is approved in March.

He said: ““We are itching to get started to make this a reality next year rather than the next five to ten years because of the benefits it can bring.

“Stefan Krause has brought a lot of focus to these sort of things for the benefit of Skegness, he has got lots of people talking together and looking at things they wouldn’t have been able to achieve before.”