Member-owned venue holds crowdfunder as Covid-19 hits arts sector

Hebden Bridge Trades Club has yet to reopen from lockdown and is calling for public support

Hebden Bridge Trades Club – a member-owned music venue in West Yorkshire – has 33 days left on its crowdfunding appeal as it recovers from the effects of the Covid-19 lockdown.

The venue – which dates back to 1924, when it was run by local trade unions – was formally registered as a members’ co-op in 2016.

It has hosted gigs by the likes of Patti Smith, Buzzcocks, Laura Marling, Half Man Half Biscuit, The Fall, Anna Calvi, Fairport Convention and Lee Scratch Perry and has been a regular entrant in the finals of the NME’s Small Venue of the Year Awards.

But like other venues it was forced to close its doors when the Covid-19 pandemic broke out and has not been able to reopen.

A note on its website says: “This has not been an easy decision to make, but the club’s managers and committee are in agreement that it’s the best route forward for now.

“We consider ourselves to be a community venue first and foremost, and as such we see ourselves as having a duty to act in a responsible manner and safeguard all our members and guests.

“While we would like to open and see you all again as soon as possible, we also want to be sure we can do so safely and in a way that ensures the club remains financially viable. We do not feel that the current guidelines enable us to adequately achieve this yet.”

Narrow corridors and a lack of outdoor space make it difficult for the club to maintain social distancing measures and even opening smaller sections like the Member’s Bar would be “a very complex undertaking,” it adds.

Its rent and bills are also currently renegotiated to cheaper rates or deferred on the basis that it is closed.

Related: Co-operatives UK urges government to support co-op arts venues

Its crowdfunder says: “As a socialist, not-for-profit, community co-operative, we do not have huge reserves to draw upon to ensure that we get through this period. Even with potential help from the government, we face uncertain and challenging times, and as we write this, do not know the precise extent of the financial support that we might receive. 

“Your donations will primarily be used to pay our running costs until we are able to re-open. After securing our future, we would use any additional funds to undertake long-overdue refurbishments, which includes potential works to make the Trades Club more accessible and inclusive.”

It adds: “It has become very clear recently that music venues will be one of the very last businesses to be able to reopen and the possible restrictions that come with it could be severely damaging to the long term future of our much-loved club.”

There are rewards offered for different levels of donation – including tote bags and a DJ spot at the club.

In this article

Join the Conversation