Food and Drink North East (FADNE) has partnered with The Beacon business centre to create a hub for the North East food and drink sector by providing workspace, training business support, technical advice, as well as targeted events and networking opportunities for businesses large and small across the industry.
Opened in 2012, The Beacon is a multi-purpose business and conference centre in the West End of Newcastle on Westgate Road owned and operated by two charities, Centre West and Groundwork (South Tyneside and Newcastle).
It is currently home to a number of small and micro-businesses and charities working across a wide range of disciplines from software and consultancy to digital and radio, and is focused on providing business space, solutions and support to encourage enterprise in the West End of Newcastle.
In 2020, Food and Drink North East (FADNE) — a community interest company (CIC) made up of local business owners and experts that aim to build the North East’s reputation as a flourishing food and drink destination of local heritage, sustainability, innovation and community — established its headquarters at The Beacon, and since then has gone into partnership with the business centre.
Their shared goals are to bring more revenue and businesses to The Beacon by revamping its existing spaces and rooms available for hire, as well as using FADNE’s network to attract, incubate and nurture businesses within the food and drink sector by connecting food and drink entrepreneurs to expertise and opportunities across the region, country and beyond.
Founder and managing director of FADNE, Chris Jewitt, says, “FADNE understands the challenges the food, drink and hospitality sectors face and is working together to solve them. We are excited at the possibilities this opportunity presents us all. Our team has the right blend of skills, knowledge and ambition to help make this vision a reality.
“We have full backing of the FADNE Board and are now engaging in taking this project forward. With the support of the Centre West, Groundwork and Naylors, we can and will shape a new and exciting future for The Beacon.”
Since coming on board as a partner, FADNE has transformed the Bistro at The Beacon into a flexible studio space which is available for formal hire for meetings, presentations and demonstrations, as well as updating the commercial kitchen into a modern training and development space that can be used for catering, product development and showcasing opportunities.
FADNE has also been running a series of online short business support sessions, covering subjects such as post-Covid recovery, digital marketing, finance, HR and operations to help North East food and drink businesses bounce back from the effects of COVID-19.
“This is just the beginning,” says Chris. “In the coming months we will work together with The Beacon to transform spaces and work on the development of business support opportunities.”
Working together, The Beacon and FADNE will look to advertise and promote the work spaces at the business centre that are available for rent or hire to tenants and external businesses. This includes The Portal – a light and airy co-working space, the Skylight and Studio conference facilities for business meetings and events, meeting rooms that come equipped with everything from data projectors to flat screen TVs, and office space for those who are looking for a base to grow their business.
By working in partnership with The Beacon, FADNE hopes to encourage more local businesses to gather at this business centre which strives to be at the heart of its community, and to help create a bustling hub of enterprise and ambition for the North East food and drink sector.
George Curry, Chair of The Beacon Partnership added, ‘The partnership with FADNE will enable the Beacon to further meet our objectives to support small and emerging businesses, and support the wider regeneration of the west end of the city. We look forward to working together to develop new opportunities over the coming months’