Events firm in fes­tive spirit af­ter re­ceiv­ing £750,000 cash boost

Belfast Telegraph - Business Telegraph - - News - BY MAR­GARET CAN­NING

A North­ern-ire­land-based events cater­ing firm op­er­at­ing at the UK’S big­gest mu­sic fes­ti­vals has an­nounced plans to ex­pand af­ter se­cur­ing £750,000 in fund­ing.

Cen­tral Fusion, which also has an of­fice in Eng­land, has said it will use the cash in­jec­tion from the Growth Loan Fund to sup­port growth and cre­ate six new roles in Belfast.

The com­pany has pro­vided food and drink con­ces­sions at events such as Read­ing and Leeds Fes­ti­val, which took place at the week­end, V Fes­ti­val, TRNSMT in Glas­gow, Down­load Fes­ti­val and Lat­i­tude Fes­ti­val, as well as Ari­ana Grande’s One Love Manch­ester con­cert in June.

Cen­tral Fusion’s web­site prom­ises “mem­o­rable cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ences” for fes­ti­val go­ers us­ing mar­quees, bars and tents to serve al­co­hol and food.

It has a core work­force of 27, but can use as many as 600 staff over fes­ti­val sea­son.

Stephen Syming­ton, di­rec­tor of Cen­tral Fusion, said: “The sup­port from the Growth Loan Fund is a huge boost for us and will en­able us to build on the suc­cess we have had re­cently.

“It will go a long way to help­ing us in­crease our ca­pac­ity to de­liver more ser­vices at more events. Ul­ti­mately, this will re­sult in job cre­ation for both per­ma­nent and tem­po­rary team mem­bers.”

The com­pany’s reg­is­tered ad­dress is at War­ing Street in Belfast al­though it also has an of­fice in Wi­gan.

Cen­tral Fusion said one of its am­bi­tions was to cre­ate de­mand dur­ing the typ­i­cally quiet pe­riod of Oc­to­ber to April.

Richard Ir­win, also a di­rec­tor, said it’s hop­ing to op­er­ate at Hal­loween and Christ­mas events in North­ern Ire­land, as well as tar­get­ing the Repub­lic for growth.

“In ad­di­tion, we are al­ready mak­ing plans for new con­cepts that will help im­prove the com­pany’s op­er­at­ing lev­els dur­ing its his­tor­i­cally quiet pe­riod be­tween Oc­to­ber and April,” he said.

“Our aim is to en­sure the busi­ness is op­er­at­ing at full ca­pac­ity across a 12-month cal­en­dar.”

Fi­nance for the Growth Loan Fund, which is aimed at SMES with growth po­ten­tial, comes from eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment agency In­vest NI and pri­vate in­vestors, North­ern Ire­land Lo­cal Govern­ment Of­fi­cers’ Su­per­an­nu­a­tion Com­mit­tee (NILGOSC).

White­rock Cap­i­tal Part­ners man­ages the fund and has made loans of over £40m to busi­nesses since it was set up five years ago, with sums rang­ing from £100,000 to £1.25m.

Neil Mccabe, se­nior in­vest­ment man­ager at White­rock Cap­i­tal Part­ners, said: “We are de­lighted to sup­port such an am­bi­tious com­pany through its next stage of in­vest­ment.

“Cen­tral Fusion con­tinue to ser­vice and de­liver large scale events through­out the UK and is seek­ing to grow its port­fo­lio in North­ern Ire­land. With the added man­age­ment ex­pe­ri­ence of Stephen and Richard, the po­ten­tial for fur­ther fu­ture growth is ev­i­dent.”

Richard Ir­win and Stephen Syming­ton are also di­rec­tors of Nor­lin Ven­tures, which plans to spend £20m on re­de­vel­op­ing the area around the Quay­side Shop­ping Cen­tre in Lon­don­derry.

Cen­tral Fusion pro­vided food and drink at the One Love Manch­ester con­cert

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