Fundraising extended for campaign to revive shopping arcade
A £150,000 community share offer to bring the vacant Dewsbury Arcade back to life has reached a milestone, with over £115,000 pledged so far.
The deadline has been extended to try and secure the final target figure.
Over £46,000 has already been pledged by the community and with The Community Shares Booster Fund from the Co-operatives UK, offering up to £50,000 of match-funded investment into the share offer, a further £25,000 from Kirklees Council has been triggered.
This has been raised in less than four weeks since the campaign started to transform the Victorian arcade into England’s first community run shopping centre.
The Arcade Group – a community led company which is leading the campaign – has extended the fundraising window by two weeks, which will now run until 24 November. The fundraising page is online at www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/dewsbury-arcade
The Arcade has been vacant since 2016 following years of declining footfall and investment.
Kirklees Council bought the space in 2020 to halt any further decline of the building.
A successful bid to the National Heritage Lottery Fund will see £4.5m go to the council towards the refurbishment of The Arcade. However, £150,000 is still required by the Arcade Group to enable it to lease and manage the property once the work is complete.
Chris Hill, development director of the Arcade Group, said: “We are thrilled with the response from local residents, businesses and organisations, as well as the generosity from Co-operatives UK, which has now matched this funding.
“The council has also been fully supportive with additional funds pledged.
“It’s great to see everyone coming together in the community to make this dream a reality and we would urge anyone else who would like to be involved in the regeneration of the town centre to get visit our crowdfunding page, as there is still time pledge.”
Alice Wharton, from Co-operatives UK, said: “We are proud to invest in this community, to empower local people to take control of their spaces, and to help create England’s first community owned shopping centre.”
Councillor Cathy Scott, leader of Kirklees Council and ward councillor for Dewsbury East, added: “I’m thrilled that the Arcade Group’s fundraiser has been so successful over the last four weeks.
“We’re very supportive of their plans for the Dewsbury Arcade.
“Their ambitions tie in completely with our aim to create a space which will support local traders and – like other blueprint projects such as the Dewsbury Market – hopefully bring a lot more footfall into the town centre, with an offering that’s both vibrant and varied.
“The viability of the Arcade Group’s plans has determined that the Dewsbury Arcade should be sustainable for many years to come, without ongoing financial support from the council.
“We can now confirm that the Arcade Group will also take on the lease and management responsibilities for the arcade going forward.”
Once restored, the arcade will have 16 smaller shop units, four larger spaces and six upstairs studios suitable for artists or offices.