It’s been a while since we’ve posted an update. Rest assured, we’ve been busy pulling together plans for Stayin’ Alive and moving forward to nail down our agreement with the Co-op – so we can take the project forward using your generous pledges. Since early January we have been:
- Firming up an outline agreement with the Co-op: we have now agreed the heads of terms with the Co-op, which set out the broad parameters of the deal leading up to exchange of contracts in the summer.
- Exploring options with development partners: Our priority is to find a partner with a track-record in refurbishing historic buildings, delivering high architectural and environmental standards, and who will work in collaboration with a community business like ours
- Holding discussions with operators: we have been approached by various companies and people interested in running a business or service from the buildings. We have shown some of them around the old picture house so they can work up their ideas in more detail. We are also progressing discussions with Chorlton Family Practice over the potential for them to relocate into the new building
- Developing our social value objectives: we have launched a programme of workshops with CLT members to develop our priorities for the project (and more widely for the CLT) and will also be consulting pledgers through online surveys. We will use the findings to guide our plans for the sort of activities and services that will operate from Stayin’ Alive.
- Business planning and funding opportunities: we currently rely on grant funding and have been busy identifying sources of finance and making applications. Alongside this, we have been development multiple business plans so that we can put these into action quickly once the preferred mix of uses is agreed.
- Planning for wider developments in Chorlton: we are just starting to set out wider plans for the revitalisation of the heart of Chorlton to ensure the Stayin’ Alive project sits at the heart of longer terms plans to enhance our offer and attract more spend and investment into our community. This will involve other businesses in Chorlton, landowners (including the GM Pension Fund) and the City Council over the coming months.
We will continue these activities over the coming months and are aiming to hit the following milestones:
- Agree Heads of Terms with Developer – March
- Survey and Design Work – April
- Agree Terms with Tenants and Operators – May
- Prepare Contracts – June
- Exchange Contracts with the Co-op – July
- Design Stage – September
- Launch Community Share Offer – October
- Submit Planning Application – November
In parallel to these activities we will be continuing our programme of engagement. There are plenty of upcoming opportunities for you to help shape our plans. This will involve:
- CLT Member Workshops on Social Value in March and April. If you would like to be involved in these and aren’t already a member, please join the CCLT here https://chorltonclt.org/join/
- Public Meetings to update & consult pledgers and residents in April and June. We will advertise these to you once we have agreed dates and venues.
- Market Stall at the Makers Market on 18th April and 20th June for people to drop by and find out more about where we are up to.
- Online Surveys to better understand local views on:
- Social Value Objectives: what do we want to achieve and what impact do we want to have
- Options & Uses: what sorts of services, offering and facilities would local people want to access/use
- Demand & Operations: how much would people use the Picture House and be prepared to pay for the services/facilities on offer.
- Watch this space for invitations to participate in our upcoming surveys.
Pledging & Investing
In the coming months, we plan to re-promote our fundraising efforts. We have so far managed to secure £400,000. We want to get to £500k! As the plans become clearer, we think we can do this with your help. We will be encouraging people to increase their initial pledge and asking everyone to spread the word. You can get going now here
We haven’t yet got a fixed date for when we expect to ask you to convert your pledge into an investment. We think it’s likely to be during October – so you have plenty of time to keep setting money aside.
We want everyone to know what they are being asked to invest in and what the terms are. We will be happy to receive your pledges as donations, but we are developing plans for a share offer so you can earn some interest and have the option to withdraw your money later on. This requires careful consideration, so please bear with us while we work all the details out with our advisors.