St Ives Corn Exchange welcomes customers back after lockdown

Ian Dobson, chairman of ACE, the Friends of St Ives Corn Exchange is ready to welcome customers back

Ian Dobson, chairman of ACE, the Friends of St Ives Corn Exchange is ready to welcome customers back to the Corn Exchange PICTURE: Athene Communications - Credit: Athene Communications

After a long lockdown period the St Ives Corn Exchange is finally able to welcome back customers.

The historic market hall which is run by the community has successfully reopened its doors after the national lockdown – with help from a new partnership supporting community organisations.

The venue was forced to close along with thousands of venues across the UK in March and in order to prepare for the challenges of reopening, it received support from the Hopkins Plunkett Communities Scheme.

Hopkins Homes has partnered with the Plunkett Foundation to provide free support and expertise.

Ian Dobson, chairman of The Friends of St Ives Corn Exchange, said: “The corn exchange normally hosts a huge variety of local organisations and events – from community groups, drama and dance groups and exercise classes, U3A meetings and classes, community cinema, comedy nights and DJ and live music gigs to public and private sector business hirings and family celebrations. It really is at the heart of the community.

“Our challenge has been how we reassure existing users that they can come back, what measures we have taken to ensure their safety – and also what we can do to attract new organisations to come and use the facilities that we have on offer. That is what the Hopkins Plunkett Communities Scheme has helped with. I thought it was a great scheme and I got straight onto it – not just for short term advice but possibly for the longer term too.”

James Hopkins, executive chairman and founder of Hopkins Homes, said: “Supporting community organisations to return to normality following the lockdown is one of the immediate priorities for the Hopkins Plunkett Communities Scheme.

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“Each organisation will have its own challenges as it adapts to any new way of working and the scheme offers professional, expert guidance to ensure they overcome any hurdles.

“We are pleased to see St Ives Corn Exchange open its doors and we hope the guidance provided has been valuable to allow its community to safely enjoy the many events and activities hosted at the venue.”

The corn exchange is owned by St Ives Town Council and is run by the St Ives Corn Exchange Community Interest Company (CIC) with the help of volunteers from the Friends group.