Unity Hall director Chris Hill, musician James Conley, LS-Live MD Adrian Brooks ( photo: Lawrence Burrow)
UK - A fundraising event in support of the restoration of the Grade II listed Unity Hall in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, helped the project pass the £100,000 investment mark, taking it further towards its target of £150,000, which is needed to buy all the audio and lighting equipment for the venue.

The event, held on 11 July at The New Inn pub in Walton, raised £3,000 towards the restoration and saw LS-Live and Backstage Academy's Adrian Brooks present a cheque for their £5,000 donation.

Said Unity Hall director Chris Hill, "The fantastic lift that Unity Hall will give to the centre of Wakefield, turning Westgate away from a heavy drinking street to a place everyone can go to enjoy themselves with galleries, cafés and retail, will make that whole area the cultural heart of a new university city.

"The fundraiser was just further proof that people in all parts of Wakefield are getting behind the Unity Hall project; everything was offered free and investors were keen to give their backing."

Unity Hall was a much used event space following its establishment as the Wakefield Co-operative headquarters in 1867, but it has been closed for the last decade.

Unity House Wakefield Limited formed in 2011 with the intention of raising funds to restore the building and turn it into a major music venue, conference centre and location for creative businesses.

The space will be turned into a 600-seater (800 standing) live music venue, a 150-seater function room, office and meeting spaces, exhibition space, retail space and eateries.

Backstage Academy's director of courses, Robin Watkinson, will join the Board of Directors at the Annual General Meeting at Wakefield Town Hall on Wednesday 18 September, along with other elected members.

Four of the Board will be up for election at this second AGM and there are another three vacant places on top of that (maximum 12 places).

The Board currently meets every other month on a Friday morning and is responsible for making all key strategic decisions. The Board is currently looking for passionate people who have experience in accounting, marketing, music promotion and the creative industries.

Anyone can attend the AGM at Wakefield Town Hall from 7.30pm on Wednesday 18 September to hear how things are progressing.

(Jim Evans)

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