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Live music venues are a key component of our urban centres. As High Streets redefine themselves after the era of retail dominance, cultural destinations are emerging as a key factor in what drives people to experience places.
They are also a vital component of the fabric which makes up town and city centres and gives them their unique identity.
All cities need grassroots music venues but no two grassroots venues are the same – the way the Leadmill makes Sheffield, Sheffield and the way Le Pub makes Newport, Newport are intrinsically different.
In recognition of the need to protect these venues and the value they bring to our town and city centres beyond immediate capital gain, FOR Cardiff has invested £1,000 in Music Venue Properties’ ‘Own Our Venues’ campaign which seeks to buy existing venues back from landlords and lease them to operators at a sustainable and protected rate helping secure their future in our urban centres whilst paying a modest return to investors.
We see this project as a way to act on some of our stated ambitions without waiting for the slow processes of government.
In our policy recommendations to Welsh Government and Cardiff Council, we’ve called for stronger community powers and associated funding to protect cultural institutions in our town and city centres.
In particular we’ve asked Cardiff Council to,
‘‘[w]ork with existing city centre cultural venues and other non-owner-occupied assets of community value to secure sustainable futures now and mitigate the threat of eviction and long-term detriment to the city in the name of immediate capital gain. Alongside short term ‘meanwhile’ uses, prioritise long term safe sites for the full cultural and artistic spectrum’”
We also asked the Welsh Government to
“establish a Welsh Community Fund to allow locals to purchase/repurpose vacant space’ and ‘empower our excellent cultural institutions to deliver more for our cities”.
Wales and the wider UK needs infrastructure in place to allow cultural venues, beyond those that have historically existed in ‘safe’ owner occupied spaces, to survive and thrive.
We still want to see these things happen but in the meantime, we’re backing this innovative and entrepreneurial campaign to do what we can.
The CrowdFunder is seeking to raise £2.5million and is open to investments from £200 up until September 29th. Find out more.