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Meeting in Ulverston due to funding fears at Coronation Hall
ULVERSTON residents are expected to rally tomorrow night to form a group of ‘friends’ for the town’s best-loved community building.
A meeting will test the appetite of creating a Friends Of Coronation Hall and takes place in the hall at 5.30pm (Thursday 29th).
The landmark venue is currently owned, operated and maintained by South Lakeland District Council.
However, its future level of funding from the council is said to be under scrutiny.
Ulverston Mayor, Coun Judith Pickthall, stressed that the meeting was not to create a group to take over the hall’s running.
She explained that the venue’s future funding arrangements are still to be decided, but that a supportive volunteer group would be helpful to have in place.
Coun Pickthall, chair of Ulverston Town Council, said: “SLDC has to cut its budget and is looking for ways to do that and is concerned abnout how much it pays into the running of the Coro.
"The meeting is to propose the formation of a Friends Of Coronation Hall to enable people to volunteer or raise money to support the upkeep of the hall. It is not about taking over the hall or running it.”
“We would be naive to think things will continue the way they have and one of the ways we can support what happens in the future and what happens now is by creating a Friends.”
Ulverston Town Council has recently won a grant to carry out a feasibility study examining the town’s community assets - including The Coro.
The study will help understand running arrangements as well as the availability of funds for different organisations to do so.
Labour’s Coun Dr Bharath Rajan, represents Ulverston Central on SLDC.
He said: “We would like to have a Friends Of Coro Hall group as we think local support is absolutely essential.”
Coun Peter Thornton, leader of SLDC, said the costs to the public purse of the hall were considerable.
"I welcome the formation of a friends group," said Coun Thornton. "We'd love to find a way forward for the Coronation Hall and we're going to try and do this. It's a magnificent building."
Of the costs, he said: "We need to get the cost of it down and the usage of it up. It's a substantial amount of money - far more, for example, than we give The Brewery in Kendal."
Coronation Hall officially opened in 1920, although a foundation stone was laid in 1914.
The then Ulverston Urban District Council took over the running of the Coronation Hall but after local government reorganisation in 1974 it was transferred to the newly-created SLDC.
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