Stretford Public Hall
Booster funding matched the investment provided by over 800 local residents to fund the restoration of Stretford Public Hall's Victorian grade II listed ballroom, for community use.
Stretford Public Hall was built in 1878 by John Rylands, a local philanthropist, aka “The Cotton King” and Manchester’s first multi-millionaire. Since then, it has been turned into a public library, public baths, a theatre, and council offices. Today, it’s being turned back into a community hall by local people for local people.
In 2014, the Grade II listed building fell into disrepair and Stretford Public Hall faced closure. The local community stepped in and brought about the hall’s transfer to the Friends of Stretford Public Hall, a member-owned charitable organisation led by local residents. Having bought the hall, they wanted to restore the historic ballroom to its former glory to create the largest cultural space in Stretford. To fund the restoration, they decided to raise funds through a community share offer.
The Booster Pilot provided £10,000 towards the development of the share offer which contributed towards work on the business plan, the Standard Mark assessment and promotion and publicity of the share offer. They reached their £250,000 target in just two months, with the Booster funding the first £100,000 of shares. Overall 800 members, mainly from the local area, invested.
The refurbished hall will increase its capacity from 100 to 400 people, and will include soundproofed windows and better fire escapes. The bigger space will accommodate more people and more community activities including community cinema screenings. There will be space hire for events such as conferences, concerts and weddings, andn it will generate income that will be reinvested into the maintenance of the hall and community activities.
"The Booster provided a great example of how community investment can work alongside external funding. The grant was critical to pay for the branding and design required to promote the share offer." Friends of Stretford Public Hall