AN enterprise hub designed to support startup businesses in Darwen is full to capacity just three months after opening and is inundated with applications.

Work at Over Darwen House offers flexible, affordable working space for budding entrepreneurs who are looking to start or advance their business.

The initiative by the Livesey Foundation, which is also behind the Darwen Heritage Centre at Holker House, was created to support business growth and job creation in the town.

The former Co-Op building on Railway Road, which is currently home to 14 businesses, is having to turn businesses away as all eight of their private offices are currently in use.

Operations Manager, Samantha Taylor, said: “We still have shared office space available but the private offices were snapped up really quickly.

“We did a lot of research before we opened and identified what kind of businesses people would like to see in the town.”

The hub also offers mentoring sessions, provided by a team of industry experts from across Lancashire, who volunteer one day a month to share expertise in fields such as marketing, finance and social media.

One of the first businesses to move in was Northern Heart films, run by award winning filmmaker Natasha Hawthornthwaite and Scott Bradley. who moved in in June.

Miss Hawthornthwaite said: “Being here has definitely helped us a lot, we’ve started working on bigger projects since we moved in.

“We don’t feel like we’re on our own anymore, we have a support network and being surrounded by other start ups makes it feel like a community.”

Other businesses using the centre include Lytham Festival graphic designers, Mike Dylan Designs, Jason Rothwell, who hopes to turn the Buxton Building into an artisan cafe and wine bar.

Mr Bradley said:”The office has given us a more professional image and it’s a place to bring clients.

“Now we have our own space we are more focused and proactive.

“We aren’t limited by a big contract so we can stay here as long as we need to, until we are ready to expand the business.”