The Box at Runcorn Shopping City has welcomed its newest trader Rafed Hafyn, a Syrian refugee who has set up a tailoring business.

Rafed has received a grant from Liverpool City Region Town Centres Fund for Halton Lea, which assists new traders with support and funding for the first six months.

The Box, set up by Shopping City and Halton Borough Council, is a shared location for new businesses to start up and grow.

Rafed brings a wealth of experience as a tailor to Runcorn, offering alterations and repair services for clothing and curtains.  He developed his trade in Syria before arriving in the UK through a United Nations and Government sponsored refugee resettlement scheme. 

Since arriving, Rafed and his family have been supported by a resettlement team and a local community organisation, A Better Tomorrow. 

Rafed has been keen to start work and is delighted with the opportunity to utilise his skills with his own business. He says: “I started with a pop-up stall in the main square so people would know I was here and have now moved round to my own space in The Box.  I already have regular customers and have received many compliments.

“I was given a warm welcome from the Shopping City team, other retailers and local customers and am grateful for the opportunity of funding support for the first six months whilst the business becomes established.” Rafed added that he couldn’t have started his businesses without the support from A Better Tomorrow.

Elaine Amos is another trader who has benefitted from The Box, supported by the Liverpool City Region Town Centre Fund initiative, funded by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.

Elaine has been established for a while now,  selling a range of beauty and wellbeing products, and specialises in magnetic eye lashes. Covid lockdowns interrupted her start to trading, but as more people returned to the shops her business grew and she was able to look outside of The Box! She now has her own stall in the Town Square and is thriving.

Dave Pearman, Manager of Runcorn Shopping City, commented: “The combined partnership of support has provided small businesses and entrepreneurs a great platform to develop and build.  Elaine and Rafed are both working hard to achieve success for their businesses and we hope that the general public will support them where possible.”

Cllr Paul Nolan, Halton Borough Council’s portfolio holder for Enterprise and Employment, says: “We’re delighted to provide the opportunity to support new local traders through the Liverpool City Region Town Centre Fund.  I wish Elaine and Rafed and all the traders in The Box space every success.”

The Liverpool City Region Town Centre Fund continues until the end of December. Other initiatives supported by the programme are Culture HQ, the Sanctuary space, pedestrian improvements around Shopping City, the hospital Outpatient Clinic and Citizens Advice which will be opening in Shopping City.

  • The Box is open Monday to Saturday near SpecSavers and Car Park 2 at Shopping City. Rafed is there Monday to Friday.