£75,000 INVESTMENT FROM KIRKLEES COUNCIL AND CO-OPERATIVES UK DOES NOT APPEAR HERE. If we hit £75,000 on here, we've hit £150,000 overall
by Chris Hill in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Welcome to our community investment page. The Arcade Group want to raise £150,000 by mid November to finance all the start up costs needed to run Dewsbury Arcade. The first community run shopping centre in the UK.
The minimum investment is £50, the maximum £10,000
The Share Offer Document and Business Plan give the details of what we intend to do, why we need the investment, how it will be used and the risks involved. The documents also explain how we intend to repay your investment within five years if you want to withdraw your money.
The Arcade Group, owned and run by its shareholder members, will run the fully refurbished Victorian Arcade on a 10 year lease from Kirklees Council starting 2025.
The Arcade is made up of 16 small shops, 4 large end units, 8 studios and office workspace. We want it full of interesting businesses, new to Dewsbury. Not take-aways, nail bars and vape shops.
We will fix the rents and choose the sort of tenants we want, make sure the arcade is full and reinvest profits in the business. No more absentee landlords and sky-high rents. We will build back Dewsbury town centre in the only way possible – from the bottom up, with the backing of local people.
Like any business, we need your investment to cover start up costs through to the point that rent income will cover those costs
Photo Kevin Kitching Photography 2019
The Arcade Group was formed by a eight local business people and residents in 2020. They volunteer their time for no personal gain. The business is registered as a community benefit society, and assets will always belong to the community.
All Board members have experience of running a business and are well placed to manage your investment carefully. We want to involve as many people as we can, from all sections of the community, in running and shaping the arcade.
The Arcade has always been loved by Dewsbury residents and for over a hundred years was busy and full. After 2011, a combination of bad distant management and retail trends, emptied out the arcade and it shut in 2016.
In 2020 Kirklees Council bought the Arcade off the private owners and set about raising the cash to re-furbish it. The structural decline was greater than anticipated and a bid had to be put to the National Lottery Heritage Fund to fill the gap between costs and the existing budget. In July '23 the Council, with the Arcade Group as its community partner, was awarded £4.5m. Construction work will begin in 2024. None of the refurbishment money comes to the Arcade Group, which is why we need your support
We want our shops and cafes to attract people back to the town centre. The desire to get out of the house, meet people, and do things hasn't gone away, but the town has to reinvent itself as a place worth visiting and we can't do that alone. The Arcade Group will work other businesses, landlords and the refurbished Market management to attract more businesses, put on events and pull people back. We've already got a World Food Festival and Vintage Day planned for next year!
Picture of a party in Paragon Arcade in Hull
The Business Plan goes into the detail. As well as keeping a lid on costs, the number of tenants in the arcade is critical to financial success. When only 60% of the arcade is occupied, we make no profit. At our 82% target occupancy level we make enough profit to repay shareholders within 5 years and still make a good surplus.
Rents will be kept as low as possible, but we have to make a profit. Everyone will be able to see where the money has gone in our public accounts.
A group of 8 individual entrepreneurs that came together in 2020 with the idea of running the Arcade in the interests of Dewsbury and using it as a springboard to improve the town centre. 6 of the 8 live in Dewsbury, the other two work in Dewsbury. The Group is completely independent of the Council.
The Group currently has no cash. Like any business it needs start-up capital to pay for everything (marketing, management, legal etc) to the point that rent income is sufficient to cover costs.
Every chance. On November 3rd, Co-operatives UK awarded the Group £50,000 match funding. For every £ invested by the public they will add another £ up to £50,000. In addition, Kirklees Council will invest £25,000 once £75,000 has been raised from other sources. A point that has now been passed. Adding it all together, on Sunday 5th Nov the share raise total stood at over £112,000.
The close of the share issue has been extended to Friday 24th Nov to give us the time to reach the £150,000 target.
Kirklees Council have allocated £2.5m to the project. Most of this has been spent on purchase costs (including Moneypennys next to The Arcade), surveys, fees and making the arcade safe and watertight. What is left is being put into the construction project.
Subject to final tender analysis, the value of the construction contract will be around £6m with £4.4m coming from National Lottery Heritage Fund and smaller amounts from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and the Town Fund.
The national funds that the Council have obtained to refurbish the Arcade are for new capital works and in the case of National Lottery Heritage Fund, only heritage buildings. The money cannot be used for maintaining services.
The works have been tendered by Kirklees Council to a pre-approved list of contractors. Final outcome of the process will be known at the end of November. The Council will undertake the works from early ’24 to early ’25 prior to the Arcade Group taking the lease. The Arcade should open Easter ‘25
The £100,000 minimum target has now been reached. Your money is held by Crowdfunder in a ring-fenced account until the share offer closes, at that point it is put in the Arcade Group bank account and we issue you a share certificate.
If profits are sufficient all your money will be returned within 5 years, barring the £1 share that keeps you as a voting member.
If the Arcade Group goes into administration, the lease will revert to the Council and you will lose your money