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whyaye finds city’s creative sweet spot

January 5, 2022

OUSEBURN’S striking Toffee Factory is celebrating 10 years at the centre of Newcastle’s creative industries with the addition of new occupiers.

Business and technology consultancy whyaye has moved into the former Maynards’ sweet factory, which has led the transformation of Lower Ouseburn Valley since it opened in December 2011.

Toffee Factory’s presence as a thriving hub for creative businesses helped Ouseburn to be named as one of the 50 coolest neighbourhoods in the world by Time Out magazine earlier this year.

Whilst whyaye is a new addition to Toffee Factory, some of the innovative development’s occupiers have been there from the start, including mixed reality training simulators architectural designers Luminous Group, architecture practice POD Newcastle and East River PR.

Maureen Robson-Norman of whyaye said: “With our team growing so rapidly since we launched in 2019, we knew we needed somewhere that matched our ethos and vision as a business. The Toffee Factory perfectly aligns with our needs, offering a fantastic location, great facilities, and a friendly reception team.

“We’re excited to make Toffee Factory our home as we head into 2022. Ouseburn has it all, from foodie hotspots to exciting new developments, and as a local girl myself, it’s fantastic to see the continued regeneration of the area over the coming years.”

Henry Bennett, operations director at Luminous Group, explained why the firm had been there for a decade.

He said: “Having seen our team grow and evolve over the last ten years, the Toffee Factory has always been the ideal place for us to innovate.

“Good facilities, flexibility and nearby pubs and other places to unwind as a team make this a place like no other. It’s great to see how much Ouseburn is changing too, with big new developments planned and new businesses moving in all the time.”

Sue Reay, director of East River PR, added: “Having been based at the Toffee Factory for ten years, I’ve seen a lot of positive change in the area. There’s a real sense of community, a true Ouseburn buzz.

“Whether it’s sitting in the sun on the roof terrace discussing ideas or enlisting the help of Lisa and her team at reception, Toffee Factory is the ideal place for us and our clients. It’s a pleasure coming to work and continuing to be part of this success story.”

Home to more than a hundred workers, Toffee Factory is owned by Newcastle City Council and managed by Sanderson Weatherall and continues to be a focal point for the city’s creative industries.

Cllr John-Paul Stephenson, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Culture, at Newcastle City Council, owners of the Toffee Factory, said: “I’d like to say Happy Birthday to the Toffee Factory!

“Although it is only 10 years old, there’s been a building on this site for over 140 years – long before the Tyne Bridge put the city on the map.

“It’s not only a beautiful building in heart of the thriving Ouseburn Valley but home to a range of digital and creative businesses which provide jobs and contribute to the local economy.”

Digital content and visual arts specialists Multiminded – former occupants of the Toffee Factory and long-time collaborators – created a dazzling projection across the 143-year-old building’s exterior to mark the milestone.

Lisa Tolan, centre manager at Toffee Factory, said: “We want to say a huge thank you to our assorted “toffees” – the diverse businesses that make Toffee Factory a real hive of creativity and collaboration.

“In ten years we’ve hosted many fantastically talented entrepreneurs and businesses, as well as arts and cultural events such as The Late Shows that have attracted visitors in their thousands. . Toffee Factory is not your average workspace!

“If you’re looking to be at the heart of Newcastle’s most vibrant neighbourhood, Toffee Factory is the place to be.”

The building now known as Toffee Factory dates back as far as 1878, when it’s thought it was constructed as extra capacity for a cattle yard.

Liverpudlian John Vose turned it into a confectionery factory that was later bought by Charles Riley and Tom Maynard around 1898, when it became Maynards’ Toffee Works until production ceased in the late 1950s.

For more information on the intriguing history of the Toffee Factory, click here.

The development was funded through the European Union’s ERDF Competitiveness Programme 2007-13 and Newcastle City Council funding

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what our clients say:

"The team at the Toffee Factory do a great job in fuelling a creative work place. They put a lot of effort into what many landlords might consider to be the softer side of working life such as organising exciting food, cultural and leisure events. These things make a big positive difference to creative teams like ours and the other businesses in the building."  

Tanya Garland – Managing Director of Cool Blue