Full steam ahead for new leisure destination in Pickering with £800k funding from FIBA Partner Reward Finance Group

06 Feb 2020

A £1 million innovative glamping and leisure complex, next to the popular North Yorkshire Moors railway, is on track to be completed in Spring with £800k funding from Reward Finance Group.

The three-acre site, which is being developed by husband and wife team, Paula and Alex O’Donnell, will offer nine quirky glamping units housed in converted railway freight wagons and guards’ vans. In addition, there will be a central reception building containing a restaurant, café, shop, exhibition and meeting space, toilets and showers, and a three-bedroom manager’s apartment.

The complex, aptly called the Engine Shed, is ideally located next to Pickering station at the start of the UK’s longest and most picturesque heritage steam railway, which attracts more than 350k visitors a year. It will therefore give people the chance to experience the steam engines in operation up close.

Speaking about the scheme, Paula O’Donnell, said,

“The site formed part of the family’s fish farming business, but the lake was filled in a number of years ago. We turned part of the land into a car park for the station but there was still a significant amount of land which was not being used.

“We identified an excellent opportunity to make the most of such a strategic location by creating a unique and exciting leisure destination which would appeal not only to rail enthusiasts but families too.

“However, to create such an innovative scheme requires a huge investment and we are grateful to Mark Tudor at Tudor Financial for introducing us to the team at Reward Finance Group. Dave Jones of Reward visited the site, saw the potential and quickly bought into our vision. We were impressed that the £800k funding facility was set up quickly, without having to jump through hoops, so we could progress the project to ensure we were open for the forthcoming season.”

Dave Jones, joint managing director of Reward Finance Group, added,

“Paula and Alex have developed a number of successful businesses but, like many other entrepreneurs, they have a significant amount of money tied up in fixed assets.

“I am confident the glamping and leisure venue will prove to be a big success. It is going to be a top-quality scheme, in a superb location which already attracts an enormous amount of people throughout the year. Paula and Alex are 100% committed to making a success of the Engine Shed and it was an easy decision for Reward to buy into their vision and to provide financial support to make the project happen”