Dewsbury Arcade: Fundraising campaign set to launch with aim of raising £150,000 in return for shares in the UK's first community-run shopping centre
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The Arcade has been vacant since 2016 following several years of declining footfall and investment.
Kirklees Council bought the space in 2020 with the aim to halt any further decline of the building and a successful bid to The National Lottery Heritage Fund will see £4.5million awarded to fully refurbish The Arcade.
The Arcade Group – comprised of volunteers from the local community – is taking a ten-year lease from the council once refurbishment work has taken place and is fundraising to finance the business.
Businesses and the local community in Dewsbury are being asked to help raise £150,000 in return for shares in the shopping centre. Once refurbishment work has been completed, investors will have a say in how The Arcade is run.
Many will remember Dewsbury Arcade, the Grade II listed Victorian arcade in the heart of Dewsbury town centre, as a bustling hub of independent shops and cafes.
The Arcade Group, the community-led company which is leading the campaign, wants to see The Arcade back to its former glory but with a focus on the future, giving people a reason to visit Dewsbury once again.
To kick-off the share campaign, there will be a launch meeting at Dewsbury Town Hall on Thursday, October 12, at 6pm. For more information on how to book a free place, visit The Arcade – Dewsbury Facebook page.
The fundraising page www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/dewsbury-arcade will launch on the same day and will be open for just four weeks.
Chris Hill, development director of the Arcade Group, said: “This is a really exciting and unique project and one which we hope the whole community in Dewsbury can support.
"We firmly believe the rejuvenation of The Arcade will massively enhance the town centre and act as a catalyst for further investment and improvements. We hope it will help in the renaissance of Dewsbury.
“The Arcade will be run by the community for the community and we’ve been really encouraged with the feedback so far.”
Once restored, The Arcade will have 16 smaller shop units, four larger spaces and six upstairs studios suitable for artists or offices.
Coun Cathy Scott, Leader of Kirklees Council, said: “The council’s purchase of The Arcade was one of the first major steps in our Dewsbury Blueprint plans, and we’re all incredibly excited to see it returned to its former glory.
"Our aim with each and every development is to create improvements that are sustainable, which will benefit the town for many years to come, and will bring a renewed sense of joy and pride to the local community. As the first community-run shopping centre in the UK, the Dewsbury Arcade would do just that.
“Our blueprint for the town isn’t just about a few years of investment – it’s about what Dewsbury will be to future generations.
"With this in mind, I hope local people will consider investing in this building, which is both a piece of both our history and our future.
"As a Dewsbury local myself, I’m really looking forward to seeing the Arcade Group’s plans come to fruition, and to seeing what the Dewsbury Arcade can grow into as a result.”