Corn Exchange Newport - Community Share Offer

by Corn Exchange Newport in Newport, United Kingdom

Corn Exchange Newport - Community Share Offer

Total raised £68,027

£80,000 stretch target 10 hours left
170% 172 investors
Keep what you raise – this project will receive all pledges made by 28th February 2024 at 11:59pm

We aim to open a brand new 500-capacity live music and events space in Newport city centre.

by Corn Exchange Newport in Newport, United Kingdom

 New stretch target

If we hit our stretch target we will be able to provide a better experience for our patrons and a high spec technical setup 


The Situation

Newport has a vibrant musical history. Everywhere you look in our city, you see a spot where history was made. Joe Strummer spent years living in Newport and played his first gig in a club on Stow Hill. Oasis played to around 80 people in TJ's, which is, of course, the place where Kurt Cobain proposed to Courtney Love. Newport Centre also saw some amazing bands and performers take to the stage, including David Bowie. 

Currently, we find ourselves in a city without a larger musical home. TJ's is long closed, and Newport Centre is no more. 

But we mustn't look to the past. 

The future is what's important, for us and for the generations who come after us. 

We feel we have the perfect team to deliver a 500-capacity venue and fill that gap. We have found the perfect premises, we have the skills and experience needed, and - most importantly - we are excited. 

We are pledging to provide Newport with a fully accessible and diverse music and events space, catering to and for all tastes and all aspects of Newport's wonderfully diverse community. 

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Is this the right time?

Yes! Yes, it is! 

Recent research conducted by mobility super app FREENOW showed that in a survey of 2000 adults, live gigs are the top occasions they choose to spend their money on. 

80 per cent said the music scene is a very important factor for living in any city, highlighting the significance live shows have on city dwellers. 

88 per cent said live music experiences positively impact their mental health, while 84 per cent of people who took part said they enjoy discovering new music through the gigs they go to. Almost 66 per cent of those surveyed prefer a feeling of intimacy in the shows they attend, preferring to watch acts in smaller venues. Things have moved on - bands and audiences expect more than a football hall in a leisure centre with a PA and a stage - they want venues with sound capabilities built specifically for the space, a good bar near the stage area and an authentic live music experience that respects the artists and the audience's passion for music. 

On average, the people surveyed said that by the end of 2023, they'd have attended 7 gigs this year. 

So, Why A Community Share Offer?

As a group of volunteers, we are passionate not only about the Newport music scene but about the city itself – and its amazing community. We feel that The Corn Exchange being a community benefit society will reflect our commitment to the wider community, with profits being invested back into the business to improve it not only as a space for live bands and businesses but for the community to use.

Community Shares are "withdrawable" shares that cannot be sold, traded, or transferred between members, unlike shares in a typical company and all members are entitled to one vote -regardless of how many shares they hold.

We make our money like other businesses; by selling goods and services -but we plough our profits back into the organisation, continually striving to improve our offer.

Your investment is needed to help us secure the new venue, and to decorate, develop and build the best space we possibly can for the community.

To this end, we will be running a Community Benefit Society Share Offer from December 1st 2023 until February 28th 2024. The minimum investment is £200, and the maximum is £10,000.

Regardless of how much you invest, everyone gets one vote at AGMs and in elections for the board. This offers a democratic structure where membership and control of the society are drawn from the community.

We have managed to secure some funding and sponsorship already, which has reduced the amount we need to raise significantly. This will allow us to begin to renovate and open the venue.

However, we still need your investment to help us do the best job we can. We want everything to be the highest quality; the best it possibly can be, to enable us to attract artists from all over the world to Newport.

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When the minimum investment target of £20,000 is reached, we can open Phase 1, which involves a fully accessible 500-capacity venue and bar.

Once we meet our minimum target we will start spending the money straight away; making sure we can deliver the venue you want to see as soon as we can.

If we reach our optimum investment target of £40,000, we can equip the venue to the highest standard.

Our maximum investment target is £80,000, and if we reach that, we can look at improving the facilities we offer, and decorate the venue to a higher standard.

We anticipate our shareholders will be people from the wider Newport community, who can see the benefits a larger capacity music venue and art space will bring to the city, and also people from all over the world who are passionate about live music and the arts.

As shareholders, you are entitled to attend the Annual General Meetings and to receive regular newsletters and invitations to shareholder-only events.

You'll also get to see the process of the new venue being created - and yes, you'll be first on the list for launch nights. We genuinely cannot wait to have you on board as a fully-fledged member of the Newport Corn Exchange Family, helping us to create a truly community-led independent art space.

If the minimum share offer is still a bit expensive for you, we welcome joint applications from groups of friends, families, or businesses - you simply need to nominate one person to be an official shareholder.

The Newport Corn Exchange board aims to start paying interest on the shares that are bought during the initial Share Offer after the third full year of trading, up to a rate of 3% per annum. Furthermore, it will be our desire at the three-year point to also start buying back the shares from the community at a rate of 15% per year, which investors can request by letter to the board.

Both aspirations are contingent on the ongoing profitability of the Newport Corn Exchange venue.

We chose the Community Benefit Society structure as we feel it best represents our aspirations for the venue and our plans for its future as a community venue for our city and its residents. 

How we your money be used?

As outlined previously, we have a three-phase plan for your investment.

  • We have secured a venue, but it needs some work. We need to install toilets and a PA system. This is phase 1, which will happen when we reach the minimum investment target of £20,000.
  • If we reach the optimum investment level of £40,000, we can purchase higher quality equipment and ensure we are equal with venues in other cities in Wales, meaning we can attract the big names we know you want to see.
  • Our maximum investment target is £80,000. This level of investment will enable us to show off Newport and what we can do. This investment will allow us to purchase extra equipment and lighting, and decorate the venue to the highest level, meaning we can provide our artists with the backstage facilities they love, so they choose to visit us time and time again.

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Based on our assumptions, which derive from our team's experience in the events industry, Newport Corn Exchange will turn over £33,900 in 2024-2025, dropping to £20,500 in 2025-2026. This decrease is attributed to the start-up capital in year one and will not pose an issue for the business, as the expenditure requirements will also decrease. The business plan shows a healthy profit and cash position over those first three years, providing a cushion in case of unforeseen issues. See our Business Plan below for more info.

Other Funding

Alongside your shares, we have a team searching and applying for grants and funding. There are several funding streams we are exploring, such as...

  • National Lottery
  • Postcode Lottery
  • Wales Arts Council
  • Creative Wales
  • Public Body Funding

We also know we can make a profit from our in-house events and venue hire and maintain a viable business.

Engaging Our Community

Offering access to arts and live music, including exhibitions, performance art, documentary cinema, and much more, it is our plan for Newport Corn Exchange to be a positive addition to the city and the community. Alongside the varied and engaging program of live events on offer, there will also be opportunities for members of the community to participate in and lead workshops.

Our workshop program will seek to educate and inspire others to create and help nurture and grow the existing arts scene in Newport. Each workshop will provide a taste of what is being created in our blossoming city and will seek to celebrate the independent artists on our doorstep. From ceramics to creative writing, jewellery making to filmmaking, each workshop will provide an exciting and rewarding experience. We aim to keep venue hire low so that these workshops can be accessible and affordable to everyone. We will encourage all who use the venue to offer several free spaces in their workshops for refugees, educational purposes, etc., to enable every single member of our community to access the space and benefit from what we do.

There will be a focus on welcoming families and schools to use our space. We are excited about encouraging children's natural curiosity and think it would be pretty cool to show them how to form a rock band, help them stage their event in our venue, or give them a space to enjoy films not on offer elsewhere—the possibilities are endless!

All in all, no matter who you are or where you are from, Newport Corn Exchange will be a place for you to come together, take part, express yourself, or just be an audience member enjoying the atmosphere of the art and culture we will be showcasing, right here in Newport and from all over the world.

Meet The Team

Left to Right: 

Emma Jones - Treasurer

Eleri Gray - Diversity Officer

Sam Dabb - Steering Group Chair

Elisha Djan - Live Events Officer

Stacey Alford - Events Officer

Emma Stowell-Corten - Communications Officer

Zac Mather - Digital Marketing Officer (not in photo). 

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Share Offer Document, Business Plan & Rules:

Levels of Investment

£200 or more

£200 (or more) minimum investment

Become a Corn Exchange Newport Stakeholder and Co-Owner with a £200 (or more) investment • You can add additional investment at the checkout to increase your shares.

£500 or more

£500 (or more) investment

Become a Corn Exchange Newport Stakeholder and Co-Owner with a £500 (or more) investment • You can add additional investment at the checkout to increase your shares.

£1,000 or more

£1,000 (or more) investment

Become a Corn Exchange Newport Stakeholder and Co-Owner with a £1,000 (or more) investment • You can add additional investment at the checkout to increase your shares.

£2,500 or more

£2,500 (or more) investment

Become a Corn Exchange Newport Stakeholder and Co-Owner with a £2,500 (or more) investment • You can add additional investment at the checkout to increase your shares.

£5,000 or more

£5,000 (or more) investment

Become a Corn Exchange Newport Stakeholder and Co-Owner with a £5,000 (or more) investment • You can add additional investment at the checkout to increase your shares.

£10,000 or more

£10,000 maximum investment

Become a Corn Exchange Newport Stakeholder and Co-Owner with a £10,000 maximum investment.

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