The refurbishment of the Corn Exchange was given a helping hand this week when The Roddick Foundation agreed to match public donations up to a value of £250,000.
The foundation, started by Body Shop founder Anita Roddick and husband Gordon, will effectively double the impact of Brighton Dome’s community appeal to help pay for the £21.2million redevelopment project.
Work started on the Corn Exchange and Studio Theatre in March last year and is now well underway. The refurbishment is the first stage of a wider project to restore and reunite the Royal Pavilion Estate.
The Trustees of The Roddick Foundation said: “We recognise that Brighton Dome & 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.”
Andrew Comben, Chief Executive Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival 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.”
Alan Robins, Chair of Brighton & Hove City Council’s Tourism, Development & Culture committee, says: “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 project is now 90% funded, with grants 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.
The revamp includes a Corn Exchange viewing gallery, a dedicated creative space for workshops and rehearsals, and a new street-facing café opening out onto New Road.