They were once launched at sea, and now converted shipping containers are helping to launch new businesses in North Wales. The Y Shed centre at Meliden, near Prestatyn, is home to three new commercial spaces in former freight containers, News From Wales reports.

The business and community space at Y Shed benefits from charitable support, and new tenants pay affordable rents. They are also offered help and support with the commercial aspects of starting up a new business, from finance to marketing.

One of the new start-ups is run by Tom Carter from Abergele, a semi-professional athlete who once beat Mo Farrah in a Grand Prix race. As you might expect, Tom’s business sells sportwear and trainers, and is splendidly named ‘The Trainer Container.’ Tom is happy to share his knowledge with customers to help them find the perfect kit.

Tom said: “Y Shed has given me a great springboard to start my new business. On is an up-and-coming brand and I really like their ethos. I am looking to build a running community here, one that supports and helps each other. I’ve not longed moved to Y Shed but business is heading the right way already…”

Johannah Hughes, a beautician, has also taken up one of the new spaces. She said: “Every day, I have to pinch myself. Y Shed is not just in the most extraordinary location with beautiful views, but the support on offer is great. These units are ideal for small businesses. I love to make people feel their best, and now I can do that in a place that’s just wonderful.”

The third space is occupied by Lorna Hicks, a highly experienced podiatrist. She commented that her work fitted in well with Tom’s specialism in selling sports shoes, and they may even be able to refer clients to each other. She thinks that some of her clients may well like to benefit from one of Johannah’s pedicures too, so the three businesses gel together.

The location of the site, which is on the Prestatyn to Dyserth Way, is ideal for attracting passing trade, as thousands of tourists, hikers, and indeed runners pass through the attractive area of northeast Wales each year.

At one time, Y Shed was a goods storage unit for the branch line of the London & North Western Railway from Prestatyn to Dyserth, known as the Prestatyn and Cwm Railway. After the line permanently closed in 1973, Y Shed became a semi-derelict building, used only for temporary purposes.

Recently, the regeneration of the site has been led by charitable housing association Grŵp Cynefin, and Meliden Residents’ Action Group. It now boasts a café, shop, ice cream parlour, and history displays, as well as creative and commercial spaces for local people.

The site is a vibrant community that has thrived despite all the disruption of the pandemic. Y Shed was awarded funding from the National Lottery Community Fund to help it survive the lockdowns. The grade II listed building had only been operating for nine months after its £1.2 million revamp when all non-essential businesses were ordered to close in March 2020.

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