YEADON Town Hall’s application for a Culture Recovery Fund grant has yet again been unsuccessful.

It is devastating news for Yeadon Town Hall CIC who have worked hard to ensure the building’s survival despite income being significantly impacted by the pandemic.

Yeadon Town Hall CIC took over management of the 140-year-old building in 2019. Since then the team has managed to steer the community centre through a pandemic all whilst continuing to deliver a major restoration project with help from Leeds City Council.

Wharfedale Observer: The entrance of Yeadon Town Hall

A spokesperson for Yeadon Town Hall CIC said: “The Government-funded grants, administered by Arts Council England, purport to support cultural organisations within England that have been hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Yeadon Town Hall’s CEO, Jamie Hudson, released a detailed statement in October following the devastating news the Town Hall had missed out on the first round of funding. History is sadly repeating itself, as the stunning Grade II local landmark has yet again been overlooked.

“The cultural hub has been significantly impacted by the pandemic, remaining closed for the majority of 2020 and 2021 so far. Income has fallen by around 95 per cent, and Yeadon Town Hall has only managed to survive thanks to small emergency grants, limited reopening opportunities and the support of the local community and organisations who have tirelessly fundraised to ensure the building’s survival. Vital help and support has also been provided by Leeds City Council, which Yeadon Town Hall CIC is extremely grateful for.

“Yeadon Town Hall is a significant community hub within the Aireborough district. Not only is it the third largest theatre in Leeds (by capacity), its main focus is to help and support local people. From community clubs and organisations through to arts development opportunities, the Town Hall has continued to establish itself as a local landmark. It’s truly shocking to see all this hard work undermined by Arts Council England and the Culture Recovery Fund.

“Countless other local theatres, arts organisations, bars and late night leisure venues have been supported by the Culture Recovery Fund. It seems a significant oversight that Yeadon Town Hall has been excluded from this extensive list.

“Perhaps even more heartbreaking is the community-focused nature of Yeadon Town Hall’s grant application. The team applied for the Heritage Fund, meaning the grant would predominantly go towards funding to improve the building’s facilities - directly improving the community’s access to quality community services. To be denied the opportunity to further restore the building will be sad news not just for the Town Hall team, but for local people across the district too.

“Despite the team’s firm belief that the funding has been unfairly distributed by the Arts Council, they will continue to fight for survival. Following the government roadmap out of lockdown, the Town Hall will first reopen its community markets in April before reviewing plans to launch further community activities and events. Thanks to the support of the local community and Leeds City Council, the team are confident the historic building will remain open and continue its restoration project - albeit without the Culture Recovery Fund support they had all hoped for."

Wharfedale Observer: Restoration work at Yeadon Town Hall

Jamie Hudson, CEO at Yeadon Town Hall, said: “I believe that the Arts Council have a moral duty to help as many cultural organisations as possible. The public’s money is precious, and in many cases we feel the funds have been unfairly administered. As always, the team will continue to fight for the Town Hall’s survival with a smile knowing the local community will provide the support and encouragement we need to go on.”

Wharfedale Observer: Restoration work at Yeadon Town Hall

Councillor Ryk Downes added: “It’s extremely disappointing to see Yeadon Town Hall has not been granted this vital funding. The Town Hall is all about supporting the community and providing a valuable service within the local area. At a time when community venues need all the help they can get to survive, it’s inexcusable that the Town Hall has been overlooked.”