Keighley Central Hall
Type: Place of Worship
Location: Keighley (West Yorkshire)
Owner: City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council
Manager: Keighley & Ilkley Voluntary & Community Action
The City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council, Keighley Town Council and Keighley and Ilkley Voluntary and Community Action (KIVCA), a support and development organisation, have worked in partnership to complete a £1.74m project to renovate a former Methodist chapel.
Completed in 2011, facilities now include a large hall for events, a conference room, meeting rooms, exhibition space and a café. On completion of the works the building was transferred to KIVCA on a 99-year lease.
Keighley Central Hall was founded in the mid-19th century as a Primitive Methodist Chapel. After it closed for worship in the 1970s, it was acquired by the City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council (CBMDC) and put into community use, hosting a variety of services such as a youth centre.
When the building was closed for health and safety reasons in 2003, it was identified by KIVCA as a potential home for community facilities, services and activities.
By agreeing that the Council would act as the 'developer' to a brief agreed with KIVCA, it was possible to mitigate concerns about the community's development experience and capacity to take financial risks. In 2009 the project was awarded a major grant from the government's Community Assets programme, which was matched with an additional contribution from CBMDC.
A successful model
Key tenants in the building include a Citizens Advice Bureau, an Islamic theatre company, a social enterprise providing training and employment support and a social impact company.
Regular activities at the centre include arts and craft groups, well-being, exercise and dance classes, support groups and the CAMRA Annual Beer Festival. Soundproofing added to the main hall has enabled live music and theatre events to take place.
Besides KIVCA's own fundraising activity, £1m-worth of grant came from the Government's Community Assets fund and £650,000 was contributed by CBMDC to realise the restoration project.
Events bookings for weddings, private hire, and AGMs and meeting room hire provide the main sources of income to fund running costs. Deficits that had built up have been rectified by improving the venue's marketing strategies.