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Employment opportunities have been created at a new multi-million pound retirement living complex which opened this summer, with local residents now being urged to use the new facilities.

Around a dozen full and part-time jobs have been created at Stourport's School Gardens after opening its doors in June following a £10.5m investment. The project included the restoration of the historic school building that was once home to Tane Lane Infants School.

Now a number of business have opened up on the Vernon Road site, including a café bistro, gymnasium and activity studio, and hair and beauty salon – all of which are open to the general public as well as residents.

Martin Lovell, owner of Martin Lovell Professional & Private Chef Services, expanded his outside catering company to bring his varied cuisine to School Gardens and now employs eight full and part-time staff. Open 9am-4pm most days including running a dinner service into the evenings on a Wednesday and Friday, the professional chef says trade is gradually picking up as more and more people hear about the new eatery.

“We’ve had to actually turn people away from our Sunday lunches already because of how popular they’ve been and so we’re asking people to book in advance just to make sure,” he said. “Expanding into School Gardens came at a good time for me and we’re loving it so far – it’s gradually getting busier and we’re encouraging more people to come and sample the menu.”

Socialise

Beverley Wells has worked as a fitness instructor and personal trainer for 16 years and is now running two classes at School Gardens each week (Monday and Friday mornings) as well as individual fitness programmes and chair-based classes for those less able. These sessions are run in the activity studio and the on-site gym, which is fully stocked with the latest training equipment.

“I got in touch after seeing the advert in the local paper and I really wanted to challenge myself and test my qualifications with a different clientele. The facilities at School Gardens are fantastic with everything in one place to keep fit, eat and socialise,” she said.

And hairdresser Jo Whittall gave up her job as a lecturer at Halesowen College to expand her mobile hairdressing service to a permanent salon. She now opens up to six days a week from 9am to 2pm and is available for appointments.

A handful of apartments remain up for grabs and those interested are encouraged to come and view the show apartment on Vernon Road. Alternatively people can call 01299 825030 or visit this page for further information.

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