The Urban Factory is 13500 square foot manufacturing unit that was upgraded to provide the regions first dedicated training facility for cheerleading, tumbling and parkour.
When the local community centre was under threat of closure, The Director of The Urban Factory was asked to take over the asset to ensure it continued to operate.
After successfully saving the community centre, they then set their sights on the provision of a state-of-the-art sporting facility for young people in their local area. They wanted to provide somewhere for sports that typically do not get the same level of facility as other mainstream sports, including cheerleading, parkour and gymnastics.
They secured £150,000 from Northstar Ventures, which was topped up by £50,000 from Sport England and £80,000 from their own organisation to renovate the old manufacturing unit to create the fantastic facility they have today.
The organisation were keen to be sustainable from the start and they wanted to ensure that they weren’t reliant on grant-funding.
The majority of their income comes from working closely with the South Tyneside School Sports Network and School Games Programmes. They have also converted some empty space upstairs into a trading café.
They are hoping to repay the loan in full in early 2024 and are thinking about how they can reinvest any additional income to deliver more impact, including the possibility of a second venue.
Serving the whole North East, they can now offer high quality training in Cheerleading, Tumbling, Gymnastics and Parkour (Freerunning).
“Our social investment company rang me within a week of COVID-19 and said stop your payments, we will sort this out. Do not worry about this money. Make sure the building can remain yours until we know what’s happening. That was the first time in Covid that I actually cried! I was in survival mode, but the fact that the company that I used to get funding, was more than just giving me money – they had a heart, and they reached out to me! For me that’s the difference between social investment and other finance providers.”
Rachel Lynch, Director at The Urban Factory
“We are delighted to have supported the Urban Factory from the early days and to see it going from strength to strength and growing their social impact. They now have over 1,600 members who are engaged in their programmes. The fact that the Urban Factory was in a strong position to ‘weather the storm’ when their trading activities had to stop over covid is a testament to the dedicated management team. This coupled with the fact that they are looking to the future with further ambition for growth demonstrates the difference that taking on Social Investment has made to their organisation and their financial resilience.“
Naomi Allen Seales, Investment Manager at Northstar Ventures