A POPULAR Tameside music venue deemed at risk of permanent closure has been saved after crowdfunding raised more than £11,000 to protect it.
POP, in Hyde, found itself on the Music Venue Trust’s red list at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, four years after first opening its doors on Corporation Street.
Described as ‘a creative hub with the funkiest vibe outside of Manchester’, POP is a multi-purpose space which stages live music gigs, cinema screenings and parties.
Jackie Francis, POP’s founder, said the venue had big ambitions for 2020, including opening a media production suite and introducing a hands-on creative/digital skills training programme.
She said: “Throughout this whole pandemic, we have been incredibly lucky.
“Everyone at POP works as a volunteer but, even though we don’t pay wages, we still have to pay rent and utilities.
“In the beginning we had about a month’s worth of funding for our bills, which was incredibly scary, and with no live music gigs permitted we had no income.
“We were given some funding by the Workers Education Alliance and Education Social Fund, but even so we honestly didn’t know if we would survive.
“But then we got quite a sizeable amount of funding from the National Lottery which took a huge weight off our shoulders because it meant we could now pay our bills while we were closed.”
Thanks to the grants and incredible support of the local community fundraiser, POPs ambitions that were put on hold could finally be put into action after the venue was taken off the red list.
Jackie continued: “The local community have been simply brilliant. They recognised the value of what we do at POP and stepped in to help with their amazing fundraiser.
“I thought it was very sweet but I honestly didn’t think a lot would be raised, but then anonymous donations of £50 and £100 started going in. It was just unbelievable.
“Then when the Music Venue Trust upped the crowd funder it spurred more people on to donate. Many tears of joy were shed because it made us realise how much our community believed in us.
“Through all of those generous donations and the grants we’ve been able to move forward with refurbishment of the venue in time for our reopening at the end of June.
“There are so many people we would like to thank but can’t possibly thank enough for everything they have done for us over the last year. We wouldn’t still be here if not for the people of Hyde.”