The Exchange has been awarded £192,000 from the Lottery Heritage Fund

Re:Source, the charity behind the £9 million development of The Exchange, on King William Street, Blackburn has received £191,326.00 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund) for a project called Embracing the Past to Transform the Future.  The project aims to open up the building to the community through a programme of volunteering opportunities, events and activities to discover, preserve, celebrate and share the history of the iconic building, known to many as the Apollo cinema.


Thanks to National Lottery players, over the next eighteen months the community project will:

  1. Recruit and train 30 volunteers to welcome an expected 40,000 visitors in an enhanced calendar of community events and activities, memory cafes, exhibitions, tours as well as the Festival of Making, The Confessional and The British Textile Biennial
  2. Use videography to capture oral history and local memories
  3. Work with a specialist to professionally review the original architects plans held in the RIBA library, London to understand the building design’s historic significance
  4. Work with Blackburn College to employ a new Business Administrator Apprentice
  5. Engage a Heritage & Volunteer Coordinator to develop a volunteer strategy, policies and procedures, reach out to new partners and explore opportunities for collaborative heritage events and activities including developing a hub for Heritage Open Days and community history activities
  6. Work with a team of volunteer history detectives in the community history archives of Blackburn Library
  7. Create a ‘Talking Bricks’ Trail, using QR tags around the building to bring history to life
  8. Create and publish a scrap book of stories, photos and ephemera
  9. Create a second silhouette light installation using characters from the Victorian era to bring the windows of the Exchange to life


As well as the community project, the grant will fund capital work to ensure The Exchange Hall will be fully accessible for the first time and welcoming to volunteers and visitors including:

    1. Renovation of the foyer to house a new platform lift
    2. Upgrading of toilet facilities
    3. Office spaces for volunteers in The Exchange Hub on the lower floor

Thanking players of the National Lottery, Caerwen Butler, Director of Operations for The Exchange (pictured) said;

’’This great news is a milestone moment for our £9million dream. We are looking forward to using our fascinating history to bring this iconic building back into use as community hub to bring transformation to the town and the people who live and work here.”

Helen Featherstone, Director, England, North at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:

“We are very proud to support this project, thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, it is wonderful to know that the transformation of The Exchange will ensure this Grade II listed building can be enjoyed by the whole community, and its history remembered and continued through a fantastic events and engagement programme.”