Body Shop founder’s charity pledges money to restore Brighton Dome

The Corn Exchange is being refurbished (Photograph: Carlotta Luke) SUS-180307-164537001
The Corn Exchange is being refurbished (Photograph: Carlotta Luke) SUS-180307-164537001

A charity set up by The Body Shop founder Anita Roddick has pledged to match fund community donations to restore the Brighton Dome.

Brighton Dome’s Corn Exchange and Studio Theatre are undergoing a £21.2 million redevelopment, which is the first phase of a major overhaul of the Royal Pavilion Estate.

What the Corn Exchange is expected to look like when the refurbishment is complete in mid-2019 SUS-180307-164505001

What the Corn Exchange is expected to look like when the refurbishment is complete in mid-2019 SUS-180307-164505001

The Roddick Foundation has said it will match fund up to £250,000 to double the impact of the organisation’s Build Brighton Dome Community Appeal by matching public donations pound for pound.

The scheme has already attracted significant donations from the National Lottery through Arts Council England (ACE) and Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), and the Coast to Capital Local Growth fund, as well as commitments from the city council, charitable trusts and individual patrons.

Its aim is to revive long-lost heritage features and to create new state-of-the-art facilities, including a Corn Exchange viewing gallery, a dedicated creative space for workshops and rehearsals and a new street-facing café opening out onto New Road.

The Build Brighton Dome Community Appeal aims to reach out to the local community as well as visitors to the city to help complete the project. With a public fundraising target of £250,000, the pledge has the potential to double its impact, by offering to match donations pound for pound.

Refurbishment of the Brighton Dome Corn Exchange SUS-170619-144812001

Refurbishment of the Brighton Dome Corn Exchange SUS-170619-144812001

Andrew Comben, chief executive Brighton Dome, said: “We are hugely grateful to The Roddick Foundation for their support of our city, our role within it, and this campaign. Anita and The Roddick Foundation have enabled the organisation to take creative risks through the relationship we have enjoyed to date and this renewed endorsement is fantastic.

“The refurbishment of these historic buildings will benefit thousands of lives in our city and beyond. Our audience, our artists, the young people and children we work with and local businesses will benefit immensely from the new spaces and facilities.”

Dame Anita Roddick, a Brighton businesswoman, human rights activist and environmental campaigner, who is best known as the co-founder of The Body Shop was a trustee of Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival before she died in 2007.

The trustees of The Roddick Foundation said: “We recognise that Brighton Dome and Brighton Festival plays a vital role in developing culture in the city and in the local community of Brighton and Hove.

“We are delighted to have agreed a contribution of up to £250,000 towards the campaign to redevelop this historic venue.

“The funds will be put towards the Build Brighton Dome appeal and we know Anita would have welcomed this legacy of adventure for artists and the local community.”

Alan Robins, chair of Brighton and Hove City Council’s tourism, development and culture committee, said: “This is brilliant news for the Brighton Dome appeal and a huge step towards reaching the restoration goals for one of our city’s most beautiful heritage buildings. We’re extremely lucky that arts and culture is such a celebrated part of our city’s make-up and to have this support is crucial to enhancing and protecting it for generations to come.”

The works at Brighton Dome Corn Exchange and Studio Theatre are the first phase of a wider project to revamp Brighton’s Royal Pavilion Estate. The longer-term vision aims to reunite the historic estate created by George IV in the early 19th century to create a centre for heritage, culture and the performing arts.

The first phase is set to be complete by mid-2019.

For more information about the project, visit: brightondome.org/our_future/

To donate to the Build Brighton Dome Community Appeal, visit: build.brightondome.org/

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