Another local business has opened up in Medway, and for cobbler Arnaud Gois, it’s the start of a dream come true. The 38 year old has accomplished a 10-year dream and set up his own cobblers based in Station Road, Rainham, with a little help from a Medway Council start up grant. Cobbler Elf was officially opened for business at the end of September by owner Arnaud, who has spent the last 15 years working for shoe repair company, Timpson.

“I’ve been dreaming of running my own business for about ten years now and it’s just fantastic to finally be up and running” he said. “I’ve been in the profession for so long and knew I had the skills to go it alone, but getting the financial backing and support to make that leap can be difficult.” Arnaud, who lives just up the road from his new shop with his wife Sheila and two sons, has received a £1,000 start up grant from the council, which he has used to upgrade stock and cope with some of the initial costs that come in the first few months of running the business.

“I always knew I wanted to set up shop in Rainham. I live just down the road and there’s a great community feel and such friendly customers. I think what my shop offers is a local business that is happy to help, friendly, and above all, well skilled in what we offer.” Medway Council’s Partners for Growth scheme offers £1,000 start up grants as well as interest free loans of up to £15,000 to local businesses. It’s one of the only schemes of its type in the south east and since starting has helped more than 234 Medway businesses, including 74 start up companies.

Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Economic Growth, Cllr Jane Chitty, said: “This is an excellent example of a local person recognising the opportunity of not only bringing his skills to the community but also helping to maintain the retail areas that are so important to the community at large. “I’d like to congratulate Arnaud and wish him every success with his new venture.”