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£50,000 boost in fight to buy Brighton community hall
A community campaign to buy a hall has been given a last-minute boost after church authorities lowered the asking price by £50,000.
The Hall Get Involved (THGI) campaign now needs to raise around £10,000 in seven days to reach its target to buy Exeter Street Hall in Brighton.
Organisers are now calling on residents to dig deep into their pockets to buy shares from as little as £50 to help keep the hall in the hands of the community.
The campaign, which was launched 14 months ago and now involves more than 700 people, has already raised £140,000 with the January 31 deadline looming.
Organisers were told this week that the church hall’s owner, St Luke’s Parochial Church Council, agreed to reduce the asking price from £200,000 to £150,000.
THGI organisers asked a surveyor at Graves Jenkins to review the asking price and were told that £150,000 was a fair price for a going concern.
The church council then had to consult with the Charity Commission to ensure that it could agree to a sale at the lower price.
The bid to buy Exeter Street Hall, which has been used by the local Prestonville community for nearly 140 years, has seen shares bought by Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas, author Peter James and residents living in Australia, Sweden and the United States.
If the target is reached by January 31, organisers say that an agreement to take ownership of the hall could take up to 12 weeks to finalise.
The money paid to the church council will then be reinvested into long-term plans to build a café in St Luke’s Church in Old Shoreham Road and to create meeting rooms for community use.
Campaign founder Paul Winter said: “It’s great news really and means that the message has changed from ‘I hope we can try and do it’ to ‘we can do it’ and people should now become part of it.
“I wouldn’t like to say I was worried about reaching |our target because I am an eternal optimist and always thought we would find the money.
“But this hopefully will mean that those who were less optimistic before can now get on board and become part of this.”
Best for community
The Rev Martin Poole, of St Luke’s, said: “In the end we want them to succeed so we felt it was in the best interest of the community to get them as close to the target as possible.
“The money we get will be reinvested back into the church to make it more of a community resource so the community wins twice.”
To buy shares visit www.exeterstreethall.org.
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