Plans to regenerate the Cotton Exchange in Blackburn into a town centre community hub and iconic arts venue are taking a giant leap forward thanks to a significant funding boost from the Architectural Heritage Fund. The charity, Re:Source has received the grant of £18.680 which will enable the trustees to develop plans for the transformation of the old cinema building on King William Street.

Manager, Caer Butler explains, ‘The AHF funding will be used to appoint a team of consultants who will create a viable five year plan for the development of the building backed by robust financial reports and fundraising strategies, marketing and community engagement work. Detailed project plans and evidence will be used to help us move forward to the next stage.

‘We have already identified strategic partners across the borough of Blackburn with Darwen and beyond. These organisations share our vision and values and want to work with us to develop co-working spaces, enterprise opportunities and employment initiatives based on multi-agency models and similar successful heritage building developments that we have visited studied in other towns. These include the Gateway in Warrington, The Florrie in Liverpool and All Saints in Bolton.

‘Having been part of the National Festival of Making and the British Textile Biennial, thousands of people from all around the world have already visited the building and connected with us. It is not just local people who are excited about our plans. We have carried out engagement and research to understand our communities and how this beautiful building can have a long term viable purpose for the transformation of the town.

We are pleased and proud to share this good news during these dark times when there is so much uncertainty.  This endorsement from the Architectural Heritage Fund is a significant milestone in our journey of hope towards a happier future for a building that is cared about by so many.’