MAJOR concert and entertainment venue Unity Hall in Wakefield city centre was finally re-opened yesterday after laying derelict for 15 years.
The Grade II listed 19th century building, which hosted concerts by major bands from the 1950s through to the 1980s before falling into disrepair, has been sympathetically restored and transformed in a £4m project.
The scheme was funded in part with cash from the European Regional Development Fund and the Architectural Heritage Fund.
But Mark Taylor, chief executive of Unity Works – the co-operative behind the scheme – said it would not have been possible without the backing of around 400 local people.
They became shareholders and ploughed just under £230,000 of their own money in to the scheme.
Mr Taylor added: “The other big funders wouldn’t have funded us without the local community support. They have really helped make this dream happen.”
An event was held at Unity Hall last night to thank shareholders. And an ‘open house’ event is being staged from 10am to 4pm today for the general public to explore the new venue.
As well as a 700 capacity music and theatre hall, there is 10,000 sq ft of office space equipped with high-specification digital infrastructure for new businesses.
There are conference facilities and a 150-seat function room.
Unity Hall will host two gigs by Wakefield rockers The Cribs at next weekend’s Long Division music festival.
For more information about upcoming events at Unity Hall, go www.unityworks.co.uk