North West Leicestershire employment has traditionally been based heavily in the mining industry. The name of our town – Coalville – emphasises this. In the early eighties the decline of the mining industry started to have an impact, with large numbers of miners becoming redundant and looking for alternative means of support. One option open to them was to invest their redundancy money in starting up a business – but where would they find suitable accommodation?
A group of interested parties including representatives from Leicestershire County Council, North West Leicestershire District Council, British Coal and Coalville Volunteer Service looked into the possibility of converting unused premises in Coalville into separate units to house emerging businesses. In 1984/85, with a great deal of imagination, foresight and hard work, together with financial assistance from both Councils, British Coal and several other financial backers, a semi-derelict building, which was originally a wagon works for building railway rolling stock, was turned into a basic workspace. Stablefords Wagon Works 1850 to approx. 1910. NCB Stores 60’s/70’s.
The Springboard Centre officially opened in 1985 with just 21 units, housing a broad cross section of industries ranging from office services to dressmaker, electrician, stone mason and printer. To this day, the range of businesses still remains extremely diverse. The acquisition of extra space on site has meant the original 21 units has grown to over 70.