One year after opening its doors, Docks Beers is transforming the space above its brewery and taproom into an arts space, the Docks Academy.
Having secured funding from the Key Fund to convert the vacant first floor of the King Edward Street church, major works can now commence.
Brewery director, Will Douglas, said: “This is the beginning of an exciting chapter for Docks Beers and the first floor of our fantastic building. It has taken us some time to put the finance and plans together, but now we have the green light.
“We want to offer a diverse programme, including live music, theatre, comedy, dance, lectures, workshops and exhibitions. We aim to bring big artists and acts to Grimsby, and we are already booking in some exciting names for 2020.
“We have our work cut out for us, but the venue should have its premiere event early next year. It is also a significant step for our business in that we will create more jobs and associate the Docks Beers brand with great culture and performance.
“We are grateful to the Key Fund, who are investing in us because of the scheme’s social impact. They could see that the Docks Academy will increase our community’s access to culture and bring high calibre performers from across the arts to our area.”
‘The Key Fund removes barriers to finance to help community and social enterprises to start up, become sustainable or grow’
Will added: “It’s well documented that culture is vital to the well-being of a community. Over the last 12 months we have tried to get people together in different ways: the Docks Rideout, drawing workshops, and music and drama have been initiatives in the brewing space.
“These were just dress rehearsals for what we are capable of upstairs. As well as putting on live music and comedy, we’re keen to use the space to explore a programme of participation in and attendance at cultural activities for people with mental health issues, and when we are not using
the space to stage events we would like to make it available for use by organisations helping vulnerable groups.”
Some of the funding behind the project comes from the Key Fund, a team who have helped the brewers access the Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund (NCRF), with one third as grant. This fund has been secured from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
Chris Colwell, from Key Fund, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Docks Beers. The Key Fund removes barriers to finance to help community and social enterprises to start up, become sustainable, or grow.
“It’s not just about the money. It’s also about providing the right kind of support to help the project have the best possible chance of success. Our investees have one crucial thing in common — the ambition to build and strengthen local communities and deliver social impact.”