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A new attraction is set to ace Blackpool thanks to £100,000 NPIF & BEF investment

BEF delivers its first Hospitality Recovery Loan to York-based, Potions Cauldron.

Attraction’s specialist, The Potions Cauldron is set for growth following a £100,000 investment. This included £30,000 from NPIF – BEF & FFE Microfinance which is managed by BEF & FFE Microfinance and part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, and £70,000 invested directly by BEF.

The investment is the first under BEF’s new Hospitality Recovery Loan Fund, a £5m fund to support hospitality, retail and supply chain businesses across Yorkshire, The Humber and Tees Valley.

York-based The Potions Cauldron will use the NPIF & BEF investment to open its second The Hole in Wand in the heart of Blackpool, the popular seaside town that attracts over 10 million visitors each year. The wizard-themed, nine-hole golf immersive experience will be located on the Promenade near to the infamous Blackpool Tower.

The Blackpool venue which is set to open on 28 May will create 15 jobs. Its opening follows the success of the original The Hole in Wand which opened on Coppergate, York in May 2021 as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ben Fry, chief ‘enchantment’ officer, of The Potion Cauldron, said: “We are thrilled to announce the opening of our latest attraction in Blackpool. Our York venue is on track to welcome over 100,000 Wizards in the first year which exceeded expectations given the impact of Covid and restrictions still being in place for much of that trading period”

Established in 2018 by Ben Fry and John Pinder, the business employs 25 staff and operates two other attractions across York city centre. The Shambles, York’s most historic street, is home to Potions Cauldron, a wizard-themed drinks attraction for children and adults while the Potions Express is a kiosk based in York train station that serves potions, hot drinks and food.

Ben Fry continued, “Working with NPIF and BEF was a straightforward process, and more than that we felt that Mark was on our side and had a genuine interest in the business and seeing us succeeding. After the last couple of years everyone needs help to drive forward and BEF have provided that and Mark is now an honorary Wizard.”

Mark Iley, Investment Manager at BEF commented: “Ben and Phil are great people to deal with and have chosen a good time to expand on their success over the last 12 months. I look forward to their continued success as The Hole In Wand secures its status as a popular Blackpool-based attraction.”

Sean Hutchinson at British Business Bank: ‘’It is always great to see first-hand the support the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund offers to growing businesses and the wider communities in the North. This latest investment into The Potion Cauldron is an excellent example of how NPIF is continuing to build a stronger North by increasing employment opportunities in the Blackpool region and strengthen a York-based business. We look forward to seeing The Potion Cauldron continue its growth trajectory, as the business expands its team and presence across the North.’’

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project (NPIF) is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.

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