Landmark Stretford building celebrated in new podcast series
Grade II Listed building was brought back to life with the help of £255,000 raised through community shares
Stretford Public Hall is the star of a new audio documentary about the power of community shares. The documentary, available as part of the Community Business Fix podcast series from Independent Trust, Power to Change, tells the inspirational story of how a team of local residents rescued the building from dereliction and decay through a combination of grit, determination and community shares.
Today, along with generating income as a community centre and events space, the hall is run as a community business and is home to health and wellbeing classes, dance classes and art workshops.
Anoushka Deighton, a member of the Friends of Stretford Public Hall, took part in the broadcast. In the programme, she describes the feeling of taking the building back into community hands: “We couldn’t believe how beautiful the building was and we fell in love. When the council confirmed we had won the bid, that feeling was just unbelievable! It really felt that Stretford had pulled itself together and done something amazing.”
The Friends raised £256,000 to renovate the building by raising community shares with the help of Power to Change. Anoushka said: “Community shares are different from usual donations. The reason people invested in the building is because they believe the project is good for their local community. Eight hundred people invested and believed in our project – 85% of them were local Stretford residents, which was a really special feeling.”
Power to Change is supporting community businesses across England to raise funds in this way through its Community Shares Booster Programme. Charlotte Cassedanne, Head of Communications at Power to Change, who commissioned the podcast series, said:
“Stretford Public Hall and the work of people like Anoushka were the natural choice for us when we were planning this episode. Community shares are not as well-known as they should be but they’re really the original crowdfunding method, and can help communities take ownership of valuable assets.”
The episode also features top tips from Charlotte Hollins, Community Shares Practitioner and Manager at Fordhall Farm, which is now owned by over 8,000 community share members.
To find out more about Power to Change’s Community Shares Booster Programme visit www.powertochange.org.uk/get-support/programmes/community-shares/
The series is produced by www.wearefieldwork.com. It is presented by Neil Roberts with research and production by Curtis James, sound design and music by Simon James, writing and executive production by Chris Paling.
NOTES to editors
Power to Change is the independent trust that supports community businesses in England.
Community businesses are locally rooted, community-led, trading for community benefit and making life better for local people. There are nearly 7,000 community businesses across England employing 35,500 people, with a combined income of £1.2bn.
From pubs to libraries; shops to bakeries; swimming pools to solar farms; community businesses are creating great products and services, providing employment and training and transforming lives. Follow this link to read some of our Community Business case studies.