Yorkshire social club gets new lease of life as a community asset

High Harrogate Working Men’s Club is being refurbished as a community benefit society with funding from Co-operative & Community Finance

A working men’s club in Harrogate, north Yorkshire, is being restored as a community benefit society to offer a diverse, inclusive and accessible social hub.

With loan support from Co-operative & Community Finance (CCF), High Harrogate Working Men’s Club will be fully restored and renovated on the ground floor and exterior, with the first and second floors being redeveloped to create six residential apartments.

Established in 1889, the club was registered as a co-op in 2019 and is is now converting to a community benefit society to reflect the breadth of its services. Renamed High Harrogate Bar and Lounge, it is planning to rejuvenate facilities for local clubs such as judo, Pilates, meditation and indoor sports, and offer a modernised function room for events, parties and live music.

The club has developed a new website and social media pages to update the community on its revamped facilities, events and social role.

Locals have welcomed the plans, with 80 members attending the most recent AGM to unanimously express their support.

Kevin Lloyd-Evans, lending and relationship manager at CCF, said: “We are delighted to be lending again to a working men’s club.

“Being able to respond to access to finance challenges is paramount to our work. We support membership organisations which are democratically controlled and collectively owned. This is a brilliant start as we now look to support other working men’s clubs across the country.”