The Media Centre is set to undergo significant transformation as part of bold plans laid out by newly appointed CEO Vernon O’Reilly.

Currently finishing his tenure as shopping centre manager for Huddersfield Piazza – and having worked on innovative schemes for Discover Huddersfield and the town’s Business Improvement District (BID) – Vernon’s role at The Media Centre officially begins in September 2021.

With over 30 years of professional experience in the commercial property industry his vision for the creative hub is already taking shape, and includes an overhaul of the existing spaces in favour of hotdesking and ‘mini-offices’, as well as the overhaul of Café Ollo – which struggled during the pandemic.

Well-versed in transforming spaces such as shopping centres, retail developments, and work hubs into creative environments that draw visitors, support independent businesses, and inject capital into town centres, Vernon’s appointment will stand The Media Centre in good stead for a future of continued growth and the provision of wider opportunities throughout Kirklees and beyond.

Speaking of his appointment, Vernon O’Reilly said: “I have a genuine passion for Huddersfield and enjoy facilitating relationships with other likeminded creatives within the area. I’m looking forward to working with The Media Centre’s stakeholders and existing tenants to get creative juices flowing and make the space a special environment for collaboration and creative thinking.

“Despite claims that the high street and town centres have seen their day, I see things differently. The past 18 months have brought community spirit to the forefront, and I believe it’s now an opportunity to encourage people back to the town and remind them what can really happen when we work together.

“In the post-pandemic landscape, I expect to see more SMEs in search of office spaces from which to grow their organisation — I look forward to facilitating these needs in the coming months, exploring the developing market and a shift in demands and needs to provide tenants and visitors every service they need to make them successful.”

Commenting on this new era, acting CEO Emma Ebbatson added: “With bold plans for the centre — including a reimagined café, vacating the large management office in favour of a hotdesking approach, and breaking up some of our larger spaces to create ‘mini-offices’ for new SMEs — we’re looking forward to seeing Vernon’s vision come to life over the coming months.

“This announcement represents a new, exciting chapter for The Media Centre. With a prime location in the heart of Huddersfield — and strong links with the community — we are in a great position to harness this power and keep driving forward.”

Providing a home to almost 200 companies – spread across the Northumberland and Lord Street buildings – The Media Centre is a 25-year-old social enterprise that reinvests all profits into nurturing business start-ups and young people, as well as the region’s arts and culture scene.

It began trading as a workspace when it re-developed an old plumber’s merchants. Today, it is made up of two distinctive buildings with their own history, and identity. More than 500 people work within The Media Centre each day with many more using it for meetings and events.