Clair Chadwick, MD of Cause UK, is working with Unity Hall, Wakefield’s biggest community-driven cultural renovation project. Clair said, ” It’s an amazing project to be a part of. Unity Hall will help shape the future of Wakefield and its cultural life.’
In 2011, a community benefit co-operative was established to save the building and create a nationally acknowledged music venue, conference centre and hot-bed for smart new business innovators.
To date £4million has been raised to refurbish the grade II listed gem that has been used and loved by the community since it was established as the Wakefield Co-operative headquarters in 1867.
Unity Hall Chairman, Chris Hill said “It’s been phenomenal – we’ve had 230 people from the community already buying a share of Unity Hall raising £107,000 in share investment. We’re now at a very exciting time and on track for our grand opening in September 2014. There’s £100,000 in share capital left to ensure we complete the project, so we’re urging everyone across Yorkshire to be part of this success story and help create a lasting cultural legacy for Yorkshire.”
The share scheme is open to all, from as little as £200 to up to £100,000 maximum.
Chris added: “It’s more than a redevelopment project, it’s a cultural movement by the people and for the people. Communities are clearly passionate about taking ownership of iconic, historic civic buildings, and shaping their own future. That’s what’s so exciting about it – if you are a shareholder you are part of a palpable cultural movement, as well as having a good investment.”
Shareholders will be members of the society and control it on a one-person one-vote basis. Businesses and organisations as well as individuals can invest.
Along with the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, the Hepworth Gallery, the expanding Art House and refurbished Theatre Royal, Unity Hall is helping to make Wakefield a real cultural centre and is expected to have a £6m economic impact and create 100 jobs.
Simon Wallis, Director of the Hepworth Gallery, said: “It’s so exciting to know this communal heart of Wakefield will be beating once more and will make a significant contribution to the diverse and ambitious cultural offer for the region. It’s an invaluable asset that will contribute to Wakefield as a place that not only showcases the finest art, but creates its own vibrant, cultural scene at a grass roots level.”
The team has developed strong partnerships with the Theatre Royal and Backstage Academy who will support the events programme with staff and students.
Located just five minutes from Wakefield Westgate station, the hall will attract major music acts as well as offering a major conference centre and business hub, complete with bars, gallery, restaurant and café.
It has support from the European Regional Development Fund and Leeds City Region.
Shares will be available to buy from February until June 2014. Shareholders should expect 4% interest on their investment from the time it opens in September, with the hope to increase this to 6% in three years.
The names of all shareholders will feature on artwork within the building and members will receive priority bookings on all events and VIP offers throughout their membership.
Gary Verity, CEO of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “Unity Hall will be another string to Yorkshire’s cultural bow and has the potential to play a role in growing tourism in Wakefield. It will add to Wakefield’s already burgeoning cultural scene.”
If you would like to invest go to www.unityworks.co.uk to download an application form or alternatively request a form and full business and investment details from firstname.lastname@example.org , m.07968968862.