The Exchange Blackburn set to become a Multicultural ‘Hub on the High Street’

17 November 2021

Blackburn’s Exchange Building, which many will remember as a cinema, but has a rich history going as far back as the 1860s, is getting ready to launch a new future.

Flags from across the globe, representing the diversity of races and religions, cultures and communities in Blackburn with Darwen will decorate The Exchange on King William Street at a special event to launch a business plan for the £9.3 million redevelopment of the former cinema by the charity, Re:Source.

The free celebration which takes place on Saturday 20 November will be a marketplace of groups showcasing food, music, traditions and culture from around the world. The party called LIFT OFF! will be funded by Near Neighbours, a programme administered by Church Urban Fund, the Church of England’s social action charity.

Key stakeholders and VIPs will be there to mark the launch of a business plan which has been introduced and endorsed by Lord Shuttleworth, Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant for Lancashire. The 40-page illustrated report sets out the phased path to transform the building into a community hub and arts space providing shared facilities for people of all races and religions from charities, agencies and public bodies to work together.

Manager, Caer Butler explains: ‘Historically, The Exchange has always been a place where people come together, and the business plan sets out how we are creating a hub on the high street which will provides great spaces for celebration and collaboration. Organisations that support the most vulnerable and marginalised groups in our area recognise the potential of The Exchange as a cohesive space where we can work together. The main hall upstairs is a fantastic arts space to use cultural activities to bring health and wellbeing, economic benefits and social change in the heart of our town centre. By combining resources, we can break down barriers, build bridges and have a greater impact in our community.

“As a festival venue over the last few years, time and time again we’ve demonstrated how the huge events and exhibition space upstairs in the former cotton trading hall attracts organisers and audiences to all kinds of activities. We want to offer the whole building out to the community and work is also already underway downstairs in the former shop and hairdressers to make improvements to transform the area into multiculturally accessible community spaces.

“Everyone is welcome to come and share in the exciting plans for the future of The Exchange this Saturday.”

For more information about the event, visit The Exchange website

LIFT OFF! takes place at The Exchange, King William Street on Saturday 20 November, 12am – 4pm when the business plan will be launched at 12.30pm with a new film produced by former BBC Inside Out producer and investigative journalist, Laurence Inwood

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