2017 is set to see exciting progress with our ambitious development plans!

Written by Derek Cannon

Our new digital cinema equipment launches this April, enabling live streaming of national and international cultural events and showings of newly released films for the first time at the Kirkgate Centre. This project was integral to our original capital development programme, as was the upgrading of our seating. That, too, will be advanced this year, with the planned acquisition of new, comfortable free-standing chairs in the auditorium, which will also be more generally refreshed.

In the wake of these two initial improvements will come, in July, the outcome of our new stage 1 application to Arts Council England, to support the major rebuild and extension which is long planned and eagerly anticipated. This bid, submitted last autumn, is for a total of a little under £2 million. If successful, it will trigger a concerted push for the remaining funding. With every expectation of further support from both the Heritage Lottery Fund and Allerdale Borough Council, the revised overall target of approximately £3.5 million will be within our reach, although much hard work will remain for our wonderful volunteers, friends and staff. It is thanks to them that we have been able to remain confident of achieving our goal.

The revised fundraising target caused us to rethink our timetable. Much thought and discussion ensued, including a detailed re-costing and cost reduction exercise, led by our architect and the building development group, during which we were able to identify further design improvements. We took advice from our fundraising consultant and public funders noted above. This has all led us to anticipate being in a position to close the Centre to start the rebuilding in spring 2019 and to reopen by the end of summer 2020.

Image: plans for the redevelopment of the Kirkgate Centre, Cockermouth

As with all such projects, precise timing this far in advance has to be subject to possible review but we strongly believe that we shall come through this long and demanding process with a revamped Kirkgate Centre which will be a joy to use and which will be a tremendous asset to Cockermouth and to the community of West Cumbria.

Stay posted for further updates on our blog and social media channels: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.