THE organisers behind the ambitious Otley Common project are holding a pop-up event this weekend to showcase their plans for the town's former Methodist Church and drum up financial support for the project.

The Otley Common scheme will transform the former church into a community hub where, say the campaigners, the people of Otley can "work, rest and play".

On Saturday, July 13, at Otley Methodist Church, they will unveil their vision for turning the building into "a progressive, social and entrepreneurial community hub".

The group says: "We want to bring the Otley Methodist Church into community ownership and seek to raise a target of £571,700 in share capital.

"This will be added to the £300,000 grant we have already received from the Community Ownership Fund. This money will be used to purchase the building and carry out Phase 1 of our renovation."

The hub will provide spaces for community art groups and classes, studios for artists and business start-ups, co-working, and a dedicated youth area.

An illustration of the co-working space An illustration of the co-working space (Image: Stead & Co Architects)

It will also host private and professional functions, be a venue for music, theatre and comedy shows, and house a community cafe.

The group is hoping to boost the coffers through a Community Shares Offer.

Community Shares are a form of social investment. They offer communities a chance to own shares in a local organisation.

All shareholders become members and can be paid interest on their shares, and also withdraw their shareholding, along with any interest they receive. Otley Common is currently targeting 6.25 per cent from four years after opening.

The scheme will be explained in detail to potential investors on Saturday, July 13, between 11am and 1pm, at Otley Methodist Church, as well as showcasing to the wider community the vision for the space with demonstrations of live music, crafts, games, art, poetry and food. No booking is needed - just pop-in to learn more.

The £571,000 the group is aiming to raise will be added to the £300,000 from the Community Ownership Fund, secured from the Department for Levelling Up in April. Of this grant money, £250,000 will go towards purchasing the building with the remaining £50,000 going on operating costs.

An Illustration of the studio space An Illustration of the studio space (Image: Stead & Co Architects)

The group's manifesto says their mission is "to become custodians of the building, to give it a new purpose, a new lease of life and meaning for the future and value to our town and all of us that live here."

To learn more about investing in the project, go to: