Leeds social enterprise firm praised by PM posts £1m losses

SEEKING INVESTMENT: Create is currently undergoing a restructure.
SEEKING INVESTMENT: Create is currently undergoing a restructure.
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An award-winning social enterprise chalked up losses of nearly £1m in the space of less than 18 months, the Yorkshire Evening Post can reveal.

As reported by the YEP yesterday, (Feb 14) Create has shut down its acclaimed King Street restaurant in the middle of Leeds.

The company says the closure is a temporary measure that has been forced upon it by “tough commercial realities”.

And today accounts lodged with Companies House highlighted just how hard those commercial realities have bitten at Create.

The accounts show that in the year up to the end of September 2010, it made a loss of around £75,000.

During the 16 months to the end of January 2012, however, the Leeds-based company posted a loss of just over £950,000.

Today Create chairman Norman Pickavance said the latter period had been one of rapid expansion for the business.

Mr Pickavance, a former human resources director for Yorkshire supermarket giant Morrisons, said the Leeds restaurant’s temporary closure was part of a restructuring designed to put the company back on an even financial keel.

He also said the business – which has won praise from Prime Minister David Cameron – was actively seeking investment.

Founded in 2007, Create provides work and training opportunities for former rough sleepers, ex-offenders and others with troubled backgrounds.

Top chef Richard Walton-Allen left his job of 12 years at department store Harvey Nichols to oversee its Leeds restaurant, which opened in the summer of 2011.

It has been giving its trainees the chance to enroll on a 12-week course and work alongside Mr Walton-Allen and other industry professionals.

The restaurant’s food and service won recognition in the Michelin Guide last October.

Create has said the King Street site will reopen in about six weeks after undergoing a “refurbishment and refitting” programme.

The revamped site will still serve food but more emphasis will be placed on its training work.

An unspecified number of staff have been made redundant as part of the restructuring.

Create’s Wakefield city centre cafe remains open for business as usual.

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