Barking is set to come alive with vibrant street food and social and cultural events with the launch of THE YARD. The community-led mini Street Food Market and Events Space launched at Factory 15 in the MAKE IT building in Barking. The event took place on Thursday 17 August and provided an unforgettable night of music, food, and celebration.

The launch event featured an electrifying set by international superstar DJ and celebrity, DJ Cuppy, within the trendy and eye-catching bright pink venue of THE YARD. Joining her on stage was London’s rising star DJ, Pure Life, and local sensation, Moses Bagz. This powerhouse lineup of DJs ensured that the launch party’s energy remained at an all-time high.

Taste buds were tingling with a delectable array of street food offerings from a range of street food vendors, including JR’s Caribbean, Pizza Pazzi, and Ray & Dee’s Kitchen. Factory 15 also presented special themed drinks, deals, and engaging games, promising an immersive experience for all attendees.

Following the launch party, the celebrations continued with a free afterparty at Factory 15. Live music and DJs kept the atmosphere electric until 1am, ensuring that the party spirit remained alive long into the night.

The launch event and establishment of THE YARD signifies Barking & Dagenham Council and Be First’s, the urban regeneration arm of the council, commitment to transforming the local landscape, creating opportunities for growth and improving Barking’s cultural offerings and nighttime economy.

THE YARD by Factory 15 represents more than just a party; it’s a vision to uplift local businesses and food vendors. Situated within the newly repurposed car park of the MAKE IT Barking building, THE YARD provides a semi-permanent home and guaranteed footfall for these enterprises.

With three containers already in place and open until October, the site boasts planning permission for an innovative two-story Box Park style development. This initiative aligns with the mission of Factory 15, which seeks to rejuvenate the local area through culture, employment, and the support of local start-up businesses.

Cllr Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking & Dagenham Council, said: “Barking and Dagenham has a long and proud history of food and nightlife, and with the spectacular opening of THE YARD, residents and visitors to our borough can expect a brilliant night out with some great quality food from local people.

“The future for food and drink in Barking and Dagenham is bright. THE YARD is just one of a number of initiatives we have in place ahead of the City of London’s wholesale market’s relocation to our borough.”

Cllr Geddes, Cabinet Member for Regeneration & Economic Development said: “THE YARD will provide a vibrant and attractive outside space for residents and visitors to enjoy.

“We’re committed to improving nightlife right across the borough and the opening of this colourful and welcoming space is proof of that.”

Geoff Raw, Managing Director of Be First, said: “As well as delivering new jobs, Be First is helping regenerate the local economy and improving the town centre’s offer.  Make It Barking is already providing exciting workspace for businesses and The Yard will complement Factory 15’s offer providing a great outside venue and exciting food offer.”

Bobby Hayward, Head of Marketing and Programming at MAKE IT and FACTORY 15 said: “We see THE YARD as an extension of the work we’ve been undertaking over the last couple of years at MAKE IT Barking, supporting local small businesses and SME’s and giving them an opportunity and platform to level up and take their businesses to the next stage. We’re all about hyperlocality and ensuring the local community is represented through culture, accessibility, and opportunity. This is just the first step in creating a more permanent street food market where the community can partake in good quality and delicious street food from the melting pot of cultures throughout the borough.”

DJ Cuppy said: “I had refreshing fun DJing and celebrating the launch for The Yard! It’s an incredible new creative space in Barking, which thrives on regenerating the area through culture and local business opportunities – I’m nothing short of inspired. A quick tip for visitors: wear something pink when you visit to really blend in!”

This community-driven project has been funded and supported by London Borough of Barking & Dagenham Council, Be First, UK Government, Levelling Up, The Mayor of London, and MAKE IT London.

Barking & Dagenham Council provided £100,000 for the project through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and Be First has worked closely with MAKE IT to help deliver the project.