The Development Trust was created in 1990 by a group of local residents from Kirkby’s Tower Hill estate who had been involved in an innovative housing co-operative project in the area.
Spurred on by this success they turned their attention to economic development matters, developing plans for a managed workspace scheme - North Mersey Business Centre - on the site of a former local council depot.
A quarter of a century on, this once-derelict 7.5-acre site on the fringes of Knowsley Industrial Park is now a well established and thriving business hub, home to 110 companies employing more than 750 people.
It is estimated that since the business centre was established its tenant businesses have collectively created more than 6,000 jobs.
And as well as providing employment opportunities for local residents, the Development Trust has generated healthy surpluses from renting out business space at the site, which it uses to fund a range of regeneration and community projects in the area,
These projects include Your Travel Borough Wide, now one of the North West’s most successful community transport operators with a fleet of more than 40 vehicles.
These vehicles handle around 500,000 passenger journeys a year and help Your Travel to provide affordable transport to almost 600 member organisations, including many local voluntary, community and faith groups.
North Mersey Business Centre profits also helped the Development Trust to create Knowsley Enterprise Academy, the first purpose-built facility of its type in the UK.
The Enterprise Academy has provided business-related activities and projects for more than 7,000 young people, many of them in the most hard-to-reach groups such as those not in education, employment or training.
One of its most successful initiatives is Neet TV which teaches young people a wide range of filmmaking skills.