Guild Hall owner donates £250k arts funding

Simon Rigby at Preston Guild Hall
Simon Rigby at Preston Guild Hall
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The new owner of Preston’s Guild Hall is setting up a £250,000 fund to support arts in the city.

Businessman Simon Rigby will be formally handed the keys to the venue at an event on Monday, having taken over the reins from Preston Council.

And he announced today a £250,000 trust fund will be available to support arts and culture in Preston.

Mr Rigby said: “My heart’s in Preston. I’m keen for the city to do well and that’s why I’m investing in Preston Guild Hall. There is a tremendous opportunity here. The city is on the up and the Guild Hall is very much part of that.

“To me, the Guild Hall is much more than a business or an entertainment complex. It’s a hub for community, creativity, spirit and enterprise. I want to grow and nurture this. To see the arts and culture flourish in Preston. The trust fund I’m establishing will tap into Preston’s diverse and exciting cultural mix and take it to the next level.

“Preston has so much potential in so many ways. I’m delighted to be part of it and to play my part in helping Preston to thrive economically, culturally and socially.”

Coun Peter Rankin, leader of Preston Council, added: “This is a fantastic deal for Preston and a fantastic deal for taxpayers. Thanks to Simon, over one million pounds is being invested in the Guild Hall. This will breathe new life into the venue with a beautiful new restaurant, a striking and welcoming front entrance and upgraded facilities for audiences and performers.

“The sale of the Guild Hall also frees up to £1m of taxpayers money that, in these times of austerity, will be used to help off-set cuts to vital public services such as street cleaning, Preston’s parks and leisure centres.”