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Spark: Financial difficulties fail to halt progress

By Beth Grice

One of the directors from the new Spark project in York says they’re hoping to open in spring despite recent financial setbacks.

Appearing unfazed about the reported financial setbacks he says: “The project is well underway. Containers have been delivered to site and have now been insulated, had windows and doors fitted, electrics, plumbing and services installed. The next phase will be the installation of two storeys of wooden flooring, including a full ground floor deck. After that around Christmas we’ll be handing units over to individual tenants to start their fit outs, followed by a sprucing, snagging and tidying up period and art installations in January or February then ready to launch to the public in Spring 2018”.  

It was reported that the financial setbacks were as a result of problems with contractors as they are trying to keep costs as low as possible for businesses renting the space. Because of this they were forced to shop around for contractors to complete the second phase. Joe backed this up saying “We don’t have an exact date yet as not all of the contractors have been scheduled in.”

Aiming to be a social street food and business start-up hub, Spark will include everything from Street Food to drink to retail. The hub will feature work spaces for the public, teaching, charities and entrepreneurs. The site will also have free Wi-Fi throughout. Situated in Piccadilly, the brightly coloured up cycled shipping containers are hard to miss.  

Joe Gardham has a background in projects similar to Spark, however typically primary retail. Explaining his idea for the project he says: “My vision was to create a model in York that takes the best bits from all the community projects I’ve worked with in my career and see what happens. Spark is the result of that”.  

Speaking of his fellow Directors on the project Joe says: “Tom (McKenzie) has a passion for food, and in particular was seeing a lack of opportunities for high quality chefs to release their creativity in York, so sought to create a space to allow this to happen.

Sam (Leach) is a political economy graduate, and has an interest in urban regeneration and bringing disused spaces back into use for community benefit.” Explains Joe.

Joe also went onto explain their position in the project saying “We’re not for profit, with no shareholders, so we’ve spent two years working on this, free of charge and won’t personally profit from its success. All money made by Spark is reinvested into activities and entertainment on site”.