Windows On Kirkgate’s World

Cockermouth’s community and entertainment venue, the Kirkgate Centre, has raised £17,000 to replace 13 of its large ground floor windows.

The new windows have been custom-made by local firm Thomas Armstrong to the high standards required by the Conservation Area regulations that cover the historic centre of Cockermouth.

‘During the lockdowns of the past two years we have been working hard to improve our Victorian building, which is heavily used by film-goers, music fans, community groups and local businesses,’ said Emma Heys, General Manager at Kirkgate Arts and Heritage, the charity which runs the Centre.

Most of the funding for the windows upgrade has been provided by the National Lottery Awards for All, the Hadfield Trust and Lord Egremont of Cockermouth Castle. The windows, being fitted by Armstrong’s team this week, are going into the Centre’s Egremont Room, the multi-purpose community space which is used as a bar, café, exercise studio, rehearsal room, business meeting room, private party venue and for the activities of a wide range of many other local organisations. It was named after the current Lord Egremont’s late mother who supported the building’s conversion from the disused All Saints’ School in 1995.

‘We still need to find £6,000 to complete the budget,’ said Emma, ‘and any donations to find the last £6,000 would be very gratefully received.

‘Our new look is a great investment in making the Egremont Room, which we hire out, even more attractive to local groups and companies. It is an important source of revenue for us and so its upkeep is crucial to our survival as a community resource. It is our ambition to make the Kirkgate the venue of choice for people looking to hire a space for a special event or regular activity in Cockermouth. We’ve recently welcomed Osprey Cheerleading Academy on Tuesday afternoons and evenings as our newest users, joining long-standing customers such as the U3A’s Alte Musik group that meets every Tuesday morning’.

The new windows are the most recent upgrade at the Kirkgate. Said Emma: ‘We’re delighted so many groups and funders keep giving us their vote of confidence. The Kirkgate is an essential part of the community and we want to do a good job for everyone who comes through our doors.’