Accessibility statement

History of York Commercial Ltd.

York Commercial Ltd., also known as YCL, is a wholly owned subsidiary company of the University of York. 

  • In 1993, the company was established as York Conference Park Limited (YCP) and had only 24 employees.
  • In 2012, the company reformed and the name changed to York Conferences Limited (YCL).
  • In 2020, the company’s name changed to York Commercial Limited (YCL) to reflect the full nature of the business.
  • As of 2024, YCL has over 330 employees.

YCL’s overall aim is to deliver a profitable service to reinvest in the University of York and provide essential services to customers.

There are a number of commercially focused sections which form YCL:

Catering and Hospitality, Campus Kitchen, Design & Print SolutionsYork Conferences and EventsYork Sport, Retail, York Campus Nursery and York Science Park.

History of each section

Catering and Hospitality

History of Catering & Hospitality

2004 to 2019

  • Library Café was refurbished and expanded as part of the Library refurbishment project.
  • Our Food Development Manager and Chef, Andrew Wood won and received many awards and medals as The Chef of the Year Gold and Silver medals, Chefs challenge Gold and Silver Medals and gold medals for hygiene. These were received from TUCO (The University Catering Organisation).
  • Our Food Development Manager and Chef, Andrew Wood participated as a judge at the annual TUCO competitions.
  • Hub Café opened in 2013.
  • Our Food Development Manager and Chef, Andrew Wood was awarded the BEM (British Empire Medal) by her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 2015.
  • Catering and Hospitality section achieved the Bronze Green Impact Award for environment sustainability and also won the Best University Catering award in 2016.
  • Catering and Hospitality section were awarded CUBO Award for Best Catering Services in 2017.
  • Piazza building at Heslington East opened in 2018 and hosts the Piazza restaurant which caters to over 500 customers daily.
  • Hospitality and Catering won a York Cares Golden Moments award for their efforts in supporting schools in 2018.
  • In 2019, hosted TUCO (The University Caterers Organisation).
  • Launched the YORCUP scheme (20p latte levy for using a single use cup) in 2019.


  • Supported the NHS during the Covid-19 lockdown by providing 2,500 meals daily.


  • The Link Cafe opened.
  • Cucina rebranded to Campus Kitchen (the University's in-house caterer).


  • 50% of the fleet were electric vehicles.

Design and Print Solutions

History of Design and Print Solutions 

2016 to 2019

  • Created a design studio to work from on the University campus in 2016.
  • Expanded offering to include web design in 2016.
  • Started to work closely with Central Marketing at the University of York in 2016.
  • Built our 10th website in 2017.
  • Became the preferred design and print supplier on the University’s ‘York e-Purchase’ system in 2017.
  • In 2017, expanded 100% in size since business began.
  • Record sales year in 2019.
  • Commissioned giant outdoor mural for LNER / York Community Stadium in 2019.


  • Provided essential signage and supported students with activity and wellbeing packs during Covid-19 outbreak
  • Pioneered the annual ‘Vice-Chancellor Christmas Card’ charity campaign


  • Diversification into signage and wide format print
  • New investment in production machinery at the Osbaldwick print site to enable prestigious and diverse print techniques


  • Print shop moved and re-fitted with a new layout, furniture and printing equipment
  • Invested in garment printing services


History of Retail

2016 to 2019

  • New gift shop opened at Market Square opened in 2016, selling University of York official merchandise.
  • New Nisa supermarket opened on Campus East in 2018, located on Kimberlow Lane.
  • Nisa Kimberlow was the runner up for ‘Best New Store’ at the Nisa awards in London in 2019.


  • Nisa Kimberlow installed some self service tills.
  • Nisa Market Square installed some self services tills; one of which was accessible.


  • Worked with our supplier, Suma to launch vegan and eco friendly sections in both supermarkets.


  • New sustainable coffee machine installed in both supermarkets.
  • Launched our ‘price crunch’ products. These are 12 products which are sold at the same price bought (unit cost) in order to help our customers financially.


  • Donated £6,500 to local charities across York, some of these charity are Snappy Trust, Jessie's Fund, York Carers and The Special Care Baby Unit.
  • In August, Nisa Kimberlow installed an additional two self-service tills; one of which was accessible.

York Campus Nursery

History of York Campus Nursery

1989 to 2019

  • York Campus Nursery opened in 1989. It was first located at what is now Campus South car park on Campus West, with spaces for 24 children, aged two to five years old and three full-time members of staff.
  • In 1994, the nursery provision was extended to include 6 baby unit places which later raised to 9 places. The over two year provision unit was extended to 30 places.
  • The nursery moved to its current location in 2004, north of Campus South car park in the forest area. The move extended the nursery’s outdoor provision including an organic garden for the children and the use of the Forest Area nearby.
  • In 2014, York Campus Nursery celebrated its 25th year anniversary and many families past and present came to celebrate the special occasion.


  • A brand new nursery was built opposite the York Sport Village on Campus East. The building work was completed in December 2023.


  • In January, the nursery staff and children moved to the brand new nursery. The new nursery provision will cater for up to 30 children under two years, a toddler room and dedicated pre-school; in all capacity to provide places for up to 94 children.

York Conferences and Events

History of York Conferences and Events

2010 to 2019

  • Ruby Anniversary of the conference office at the University in 2010.
  • Bronze 'Green Impact Award' achieved in 2011.
  • Silver 'Green Impact Award' achieved in 2012.
  • Gold 'Green Impact Award' achieved in 2013.
  • Gold 'Green Impact Award' achieved in 2014.
  • Excellence Highly Commended in the 'Green Impact Awards in 2017.


  • York Conferences celebrate their 50th Anniversary.


  • York Conferences began hosting events and weddings at The Guildhall, York.
  • York Conferences rebranded to ‘York Conferences & Events’ / ‘YCE’.

York Science Park

History of York Science Park

1995 to 2019

  • Innovation Centre opened in 1995.
  • Innovation Centre extension opened in 2001.
  • Bio Centre opened in 2003.
  • IT Centre opened in 2003
  • Enterprise House opened in 2003.
  • The Catalyst opened in 2011.
  • Phase One business incubator at the Catalyst launched in 2019.


  • The Guildhall opened.
  • The Guildhall and The Catalyst announced partnership with Barclays Eagle Labs.

York Sport

History of York Sport

1973 to 2015

  • The York Sport Centre opened as a sports hall and squash courts with a cinder athletics track added afterwards in 1973.
  • With a £9M investment, York Sport Village was built featuring a competition–standard, eight lane, 25 metre pool, learner pool, full size 3G Astroturf Pitch and 3 further five-a-side pitches and a state of the art fitness centre in 2012.
  • Welcome to Yorkshire officially launched the Tour de France, Grand Depart with a visit from Christian Prudhomme (Race Director General - TdF) at York Sports Village in 2013.
  • York Sport and the University of York were instrumental (with the Jane Tomlinson Appeal/Run for All) in establishing the first ever Yorkshire marathon starting and ending on campus in 2013.
  • BBC news featured York Sport as an example of Olympic legacy in 2013.
  • Olympic-scale York Sport Velodrome was opened with a total investment of £1.1 million pounds for 250 metre outdoor tarmac in 2014.
  • Great Britain Rugby league used York Sport Centre as academy and women’s team training base in 2015.
  • Sir Gary Verity opened York Sport Velodrome in 2015.
  • York Sport Village hosted York Triathlon attracting over 1000 spectators and competitors in 2015.

2016 to 2019

  • York Sport Athletics stadium phase 2 was completed (Pavilion & stand) and officially opened by Dame Kelly Holmes in 2016.
  • York Sport hosts the first annual Brownlee Brothers foundation schools triathlon (with 700 children) in 2016.
  • York Sport alongside the University of York were awarded GB Rowing Start Centre status to identify and train potential Olympic rowers in 2016.
  • T'Villidge Fowk, a team of York Sport staff, appeared on and won BBC2's Eggheads in 2017!
  • York Sport Village hosted the first weekly Parkrun (500+ turn out at the new Heslington Parkrun) in 2017.
  • York Sport hosted a home Roses varsity v Lancaster University and an opening event in the arena in front of 1200 spectators in 2017.
  • York Sport won the Best Gym or Wellbeing Facility (Minster FM Listener Choice Awards 2017).
  • York Triathlon staged at York Sport Village in 2017.
  • York Sport won UK Active Small Employer of the Year Award 2017.
  • Invested £300k in new equipment to improve fitness experience in 2018.


  • York Sport staff were instrumental with the University and community Covid-19 support.
  • York Sport Arena established as a Covid-19 testing centre.
  • Delivery of free lock down online classes reach a worldwide audience.


  • UK High awarded Highly Commended status to York Sport commended for Covid-19 response and business continuity.


  • York Sport celebrated their 10 year anniversary with an Open Day event for the community celebrating sport in York.
  • A York Sport Day of Inspiration attracted 300 local school children.
  • York Sport provided a training base to Rugby League World cup winners Australia Women, the France Women and the New Zealand Men and Women teams.
  • York Sport Village hosted British Cycling Cyclo-Cross Championships.


  • Brownlee Foundation Schools Triathlon attracted a record 1200 entries within 24 hours.
  • York Sport, alongside the University of York, York Sport Union and York University Students Union, staged its first home Roses since 2019.
  • Little Vikings ‘Best Swim’ category award winner 2023.
  • York Sport won the 'Sustainability Award' in the Active Achievers Award category at the York Sport Awards 2023.