Plea for investors for final leg of refurbishment to iconic Wakefield building

Unity Work's chief executive Mark Taylor and development director Chris Hill inside the main hall. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

Unity Work's chief executive Mark Taylor and development director Chris Hill inside the main hall. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

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A co-operative that has turned one of Wakefield’s most iconic buildings from a crumbling shell into a successful live music venue is trying to raise £60,000 to fund the final leg of its refurbishment.

Unity Works re-opened in September after a £4m revamp and has already played host to the likes of The Cribs and Frank Turner, but needs extra investment from new shareholders to fund a café bar.

Standing on the corner of Westgate and Smyth Street, the café will allow Unity Works to open during the day and appeal to a broader range of people.

Unity Works development director Chris Hill said: “We’ve always aspired for Unity Works to be a space for everyone. The café bar will give us valuable appeal to a different market, a reason to come here during the day and be a relaxed space to have lunch or just a hot drink.

“We’re asking our existing shareholders if they’d like to invest a little more, but also opening up the opportunity to people who haven’t yet got involved. As a shareholder you get priority booking rights for events and VIP offers not available to others.”

The co-operative raised £220,000 through previous share issues, which was spent on audio and visual equipment for the venue’s two music halls.

Potential investors can get involved for as little as £200 and will receive a 4 per cent return on their investment. Money raised will pay for bar furniture, a food preparation area and dumb waiter to link the café to the upstairs kitchen, a beer cellar and improved disabled access to the building.

A fundraising event takes place at Unity Works next Friday where plans for the café will go on display, where shareholders will get a say on the type of food and real ale that the café bar will offer.

Mr Hill added: “What we’ve done with Unity Works so far has been a huge success. We’ve had some major names such as Frank Turner and The Cribbs play the Major Hall, our offices are just about full and the meeting rooms are regularly used.

“The buzz about the place is fantastic and we want to extend the use of the building so more people get to enjoy it. The café bar is the final piece of the Unity Works jigsaw.”

Anyone interested in investing can find out more at www.unityworks.co.uk/shares

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