Unity Hall plan needs £100k for new equipment

Unity Hall at Wakefield
Unity Hall at Wakefield

A group that aims to redevelop Wakefield’s historic Unity Hall is asking people to dig deep to overcome its final hurdle.

Community cooperative Unity House Wakefield Ltd has already raised £4m towards turning the building, on Westgate, into a multi-purpose music and arts venue.

7 Jan 2014....Chris Hill inside Unity Hall, Picture Scott Merrylees SM1001/70b

7 Jan 2014....Chris Hill inside Unity Hall, Picture Scott Merrylees SM1001/70b

More than 200 music fans, businesses and organisations have invested in a community share scheme to help fund the development.

But the cooperative now needs an extra £100,000 to buy sound and lighting equipment ready for the expected completion in autumn this year. It is hoped the facility will be open in time for the Long Division music festival in September.

The Grade II-listed building, which has been empty for the past 25 years, will feature a 600-seat music and theatre hall, offices, exhibition space, a function room, new businesses, a cafe and conference facilities.

The project - expected to create up to 300 new jobs - has received financial backing from the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership and is supported by Wakefield Council.

Unity Hall Wakefield Ltd took over the building in October 2013 after signing a 999-year lease. Work has already started to transform the hall, which was built in the 19th century for the Wakefield Wholesale Co-operative Society. It later became Wakefield’s most important music venue in the 1950s to the 1980s and hosted some of the biggest bands of the era.

Chris Hill, director of Unity Hall Wakefield Ltd, is now appealing for more people to invest in the project.

Anyone who buys shares will be paid four per cent interest when the hall opens, with the group aiming to increase this to six per cent after three years. The minimum investment is £200 and shareholders will be able to vote on the important issues facing the venue.

Visit www.unityhallwakefield.co.uk or call 07968 968862 for more investment information or to buy shares.