Westmorland and Furness Council is reaffirming its commitment to Ulverston’s Coronation Hall after taking over management of the much-loved community, arts and cultural venue on 1 January.
The council confirmed the move in November, committing to keep the venue operating and retaining the current temporary pop-up library offer.
The agreement came after the announcement by The Coro’s previous operators, social enterprise Ulverston Community Enterprises (UCE) and its subsidiary Charitable Incorporated Organisation, Ulverston Coronation Hall (UCH), of their intention to pass responsibility for the day-to-day operation of The Coro back over to the council at the end of 2023.
The Coro team has TUPE transferred over to Westmorland and Furness Council. The council is also aware of the tremendous contribution made by the dedicated group of Coro volunteers, and looks forward to working with them.
Councillor Virginia Taylor, Westmorland and Furness Council’s Cabinet Member for Sustainable Communities and Localities, said: “I realise that the change in management is causing uncertainty, but I can say absolutely that we recognise the importance of The Coro to Ulverston – The Coro benefits the town centre, the community, the arts and tourism.
“Our ambitions are to maintain, protect and enhance the Coro’s role in South Cumbria’s arts and cultural scene and to develop it as a place in Ulverston for everyone in the community to use.
“Staff have been working hard to ensure a smooth transition. Confirmed bookings already made for 2024 will be honoured and we will be in touch with everyone we know that has requested space. Anybody interested in the possibility of using the Coro for an event, rehearsal, project or meeting of any kind is urged to get in touch with the team at firstname.lastname@example.org
“We are immensely grateful to the dedicated staff, volunteers and board members of both Ulverston Community Enterprises and Ulverston Coronation Hall who, since 2016, have worked tirelessly so the Coro could bring a vibrant cultural offering to Ulverston, for local people and visitors alike – as well as providing a venue for many community groups to meet and events to happen.
“We promise we will do all we can to continue the great work of UCE and UCH, working with our partners so the Coro can continue to be at the heart of life in Ulverston as a place people are proud of, support, and use.”
The Coro closed before Christmas for the holidays and to allow some essential maintenance to take place and will reopen on Monday, 8 January.
The current temporary pop-up library offer will continue to be provided from The Coro and Ulverston Market Hall, whilst options for reinstating the permanent library offer in Ulverston are developed and consulted on. The opening hours of the Coro will be extended in line with library opening hours. The council is looking to significantly expand the pop-up library offer at The Coro from January, with extended opening hours and providing additional meeting space for library and community groups.
Westmorland and Furness Council’s Cabinet agreed last month that the council would continue to operate the Coro as a cultural and community venue, agreeing a budget initially until March 2025.
This will allow the council time to prepare a detailed operational model and business case for the operation of The Coro after March 2025. This will be presented back to Cabinet for consideration by no later than September 2024. The business case will also consider what capital investment would be required to enhance the visitor experience at The Coro and to improve the long-term sustainability of the venue.