Burnley Empire campaign group awarded charity status

The project set up to restore and reuse the iconic Burnley Empire has been awarded charity status.

Now known as Burnley Empire Trust (BET) the charitable organisation has already achieved a huge amount of grass root work since forming in 2015 from members of the community.

On December 5th in 2018 the group saved East Lancashire’s only Grade II listed purposebuilt Edwardian theatre from auction by taking ownership of the building and went on to form a partnership with National Trust to carry out grant work together from a successful National Lottery Heritage Fund bid awarded in 2019.

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Director Allen Thomasson took the lead on applying for charitable status on behalf of the Trust which has been a lengthy piece of work behind the scenes but none the less a fantastic achievement for the group of dedicated volunteers. This news gives well deserved credit to the charitable project working towards the restoration and reuse of the town’s iconic venue.

Members of Burnley Empire Trust at Stockport Plaza

Chairman Sophie Gibson said: "The past 12 months have been really progressive as we’ve managed to carry out a large amount of work gaining much more knowledge of the building, thanks to the ongoing support from National Trust and Theatres Trust.

"The charitable status has taken months of work but of course all good things come to those who wait and there’s a long exciting road ahead for us all."

BET Trustees had the opportunity to visit Stockport Plaza last year, a venue with a similar story which was saved by volunteers and now proudly operates as an award-winning restored Art Deco venue which has been featured in well-known TV productions such as Peaky Blinders and recently hosted the number one album launch for well-known Stockport band Blossoms.

Other works due to be completed from the grant awarded last year include structural and condition surveys of the building and an update of the previous Viability Study by ‘theatresearch’ and ‘bonnar keenlyside’ who will identify options for financially viable meanwhile uses for the large capacity venue and longer-term ambitions.

BET look forward to launching a new website next month that will enable them to share up to date information of the building and project set to restore and reuse the historic, Burnley Empire.

Follow @BurnleyEmpire for regular updates on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.