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Charity on the hunt for ‘failing business’ to buy after missing out on garden centre

PUBLISHED: 14:45 04 August 2020 | UPDATED: 14:45 04 August 2020

Aylsham Garden Centre. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Aylsham Garden Centre. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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A charity which failed in its attempt to purchase a garden centre has said it is on the look out for a “failing business” to buy.

Aylsham Garden Centre. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYAylsham Garden Centre. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

ACE which helps to provide education and training for young people who are out of work had hoped to use Aylsham Garden Centre to run its courses and use its catering and horticultural facilities to raise money for the charity - rather than funding it through donations and grants.

The charity set up a GoFundMe page in order to raise money to buy the business but only managed to raise £1,300, however, an investor offered to purchase the centre and let it back to them.

ACE were outbid by £20,000, by another buyer and missed out on the location.

Managing director Lou Gardiner said: “The idea was that following lockdown there was going to be a lot of people unemployed and a lot of people that need training, so we needed to re-frame how our organisation funds itself and carries out work.”

Lou Gardiner, general manager of charity ACE. Picture: supplied by Lou GardinerLou Gardiner, general manager of charity ACE. Picture: supplied by Lou Gardiner

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Ms Gardiner added that the charity is mainly reliant on government projects or funding to operate and that the garden centre presented an opportunity to create a revenue stream of its own, It had also hoped it would be able to run training courses and horticultural projects from the site.

She added: “I just thought that rather than keep asking for money we could actually go out and earn our own money.”

The charity is now looking to buy a similar business to run the project from.

Ms Gardiner added: “We just need to find a failing business or somebody who’s ready to retire, so basically I’m now looking for multiple sectors under one roof. What I liked about Aylsham Garden Centre is that it had horticultural, retail, catering and hospitality.

If somebody is a bit tired but doesn’t want to give up their business completely I’m hoping we can come to some sort of arrangement to rent their premises or do something alongside them.”

Anyone with a business who is interested in working with ACE should contact Ms Gardiner on 01603 720308.


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