A UNIQUE social space has opened its doors in York, and proved a huge hit with visitors on its first weekend.

The Malthouse, in The Crescent, launched on Friday evening after it was transformed from a derelict warehouse into a vibrant space featuring wall murals and twinkly lights. It will open every weekend up to New Year’s Eve.

The venue offers food, drink, live music, film, workshops and more for all the family to enjoy.

On Saturdays, souk markets are being held for craftspeople to sell their wares, while Sundays are alcohol free with family entertainment on offer.

Joe Gardham, who is behind the venture, said the first weekend was a success. “I think it went amazingly. We were absolutely jam-packed on the first night. The feedback from everyone was amazing.

“Saturday took me by surprise. We had probably over 100 different families come down. We were not expecting that level of interest for the daytime.

“It was amazing to see so many families enjoying the space.”

He added: “On Sunday we had a group of teenagers who came down independently to hang out. It’s nice to see a space where they can hang out and not be demonised and moved on.”

Among the stallholders at the first souk market was Naomi Wells Smith, selling handmade leather goods. She was impressed with the venue, saying: “It is just desperately needed in York. It is really vibrant.

“We have had a diverse cross-section of local residents.

“There are activities for the children while the parents can shop.

“It is just a great space.”

The ground floor offers food and drink, including Ainsty Ales, cocktail and spirits bars and affordable street food stalls, with 80 per cent of dishes capped at £5. Upstairs is the creative space.

For children, there is a workshop space for making and doing. In addition. several artists have taken up residence in new studios.

Explaining how the project came about, Joe, of Social Vision, said North Star developers approached him, asking him to bring a community element to their work. Investing £5,000 of his own money, with North Star taking care of the infrastructure work, Joe assembled a team of experts in food, art, joinery and building work to help.

The Malthouse is open from 9am on Fridays to 5pm on Sundays. If a success, it will stay open until March before returning to the developers.

The project is a collaboration as part of Space Invaders, owned by Social Vision.