Jazz club issues shares to create UK’s first co-operative jazz venue

Newcastle could host UK’s first co-operatively owned jazz venue. With support from the Co-operative Enterprise Hub, the Pink Lane Jazz Co-op launched a community share offer to raise funds...

Newcastle could host UK’s first co-operatively owned jazz venue. With support from the Co-operative Enterprise Hub, the Pink Lane Jazz Co-op launched a community share offer to raise funds to set up a co-operatively owned jazz club.

Pink Lane Jazz Co-op was founded by a group of poets, jazz music lovers and local residents following the death of Keith Crombie in December 2012. Keith was the owner of Jazz Café in Newcastle, a unique venue offering live jazz, poetry, theatre and dance.

The founders of Pink Lane Jazz Co-op decided to set up a co-operative enterprise to keep the spirit of Keith’s venue alive. They initially wanted to buy the premises of Jazz Café, but the owners decided to run it themselves. Instead, the co-op established regular jazz nights at two other venues, alongside a regular monthly gig at Jazz Café’s premises.

The co-op, which has 72 members, now wants to develop a long-term project by purchasing The Globe, one of Newcastle’s best alternative clubs, on the west edge of the city centre.

The Globe, Newcastle
The Globe, Newcastle

Needing to raise over £200,000 for the project, they have set a fundraising target of £125,000 and arranged a 15-year loan of £75,000.

Pink Lane Jazz Co-op intends to buy the club and rent it to the current tenants, Kerry James and Vicky Tate, who will continue running the venue. Gradually, the co-op will host more live jazz events and offer classes to promote the music. By purchasing the premises they hope to create a hub for jazz education and other initiatives in  the performing arts.

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Dave Parker, a founder member of Pink Lane Jazz Co-op, said: “We have a long-term vision of establishing The Globe as the place in Newcastle to go to hear live jazz and other music that is outside the mainstream. It will be a place where musicians learn, share and develop their skills – a hub for jazz education. It may well be the first music venue to be owned by a co-operative committed to jazz.”

The Co-operative Enterprise Hub has helped communities from across the UK explore co-operative solutions to the running of businesses and services.

Michael Fairclough, head of community and co-operative investment at the Co-operative Group, which assisted the Pink Lane Jazz Co-op through the Co-operative Enterprise Hub, said: “The UK is witnessing significant increases in community and co-operatively owned enterprises, people participating in and bringing about the changes that they want to see in their community.

“By working together people can be powerful catalysts for change and co-operation can be key to unlocking that potential in our communities and, overcoming many of the challenges that face our society, the environment and, economy.”

The community share offer remains open until 21 March. Shares are valued at £1 and the minimum investment is £200. Individuals can invest up to £20,000. The co-op intends to pay an interest of 5% to shareholders after three years. Some shareholders may also be eligible for up to 50% income tax relief on the amount invested.

• The closing date for applications is 21 March. Apply for shares online: www.pinklanejazz.co.uk/invest

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