Belfast Telegraph

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

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.

Belfast Telegraph

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