REFURBISHMENT work has now started on bringing the St Ives Corn Exchange back into use, but before it can open to the public the building needs some new friends. The work is scheduled to be finished this May, providing a new hall and all the additional fa

REFURBISHMENT work has now started on bringing the St Ives Corn Exchange back into use, but before it can open to the public the building needs some new friends.

The work is scheduled to be finished this May, providing a new hall and all the additional facilities that are needed to turn the building into a entertainment and community centre for the town.

However, while the £900,000 building costs are being covered by St Ives Town Council, extra funding is needed to ensure the building is kitted out with all the correct equipment.

ACE Friends of St Ives Corn Exchange is working on making this happen.

The group is working with the community interest company (CIC) which was formed to manage the day-to-day operation of the building, to raise £100,000.

Gilly Jackson, chairman of the fundraising committee, said: "ACE and the CIC are confident that the restored Corn Exchange will revitalise St Ives, both for residents and visitors, and will also bring economic and business opportunities to the town.

"But there is more to do before we can all realise our dream of a new vibrant Corn Exchange.

"When the building was under threat of being sold, there was overwhelming public support that the Corn Exchange was wanted back as a fully furnished public amenity at the heart of the town. This support made a real difference then, and is needed once again.

"Although St Ives Town Council is providing the funds to fully restore the fabric of the Corn Exchange, ACE estimates that about £100,000 in additional funds is still needed to furnish and equip the building."

ACE plans to contact every household and business in and around St Ives, with the offer of becoming part of the Friends of St Ives Corn Exchange. Membership starts at just £10 a year with other opportunities, including lifetime membership, costing more.

Mrs Jackson added: "We urge all of you to give us your support so that together we can look forward to a Corn Exchange of which we can justifiably be proud.