MORE than £9,000 funding has been approved to help refurbish the facilities at Guiseley Theatre.

The three Guiseley and Rawdon ward councillors approved the grant from their discretionary wellbeing funds to revamp and turn the men’s toilets into a modern, unisex facility with baby changing facilities. It is believed that making the space unisex will mean shorter queues for theatre users.

With the theatre closed due to Covid restrictions, now was seen as the perfect time to complete the disruptive work and the ward councillors say they are delighted to be able to award the grant to complete the work.

Cllr Paul Wadsworth said: “The theatre building really is at the heart of the Guiseley community, hosting all sorts of activities for a wide range of ages. Refurbishing these facilities has been a long time coming, so I am delighted to help and hope they give good service for years to come.”

Cllr Pat Latty said: “Making these new toilets unisex may seem quite a departure for Guiseley Theatre and the baby changing facility will remind us that it is much more than a theatre and caters for many and varied activities.”

Cllr Graham Latty said: “Guiseley Theatre is an historic building very dear to the hearts of Aireborough people; however the same cannot be said for the men’s facilities. I was delighted when we got the opportunity to use Wellbeing money to help create new ones fit to cater for the wellbeing of today’s audiences.”

Councillors agreed discretionary grant funding of £9,194 at a meeting of the Outer North West Community Committee in November.

Guiseley Theatre took on a new lease of life in 2019 with the creation of a Community Interest Company. The move allowed access to funds for renovation, maintenance and new facilities. It was the culmination of five years of hard work by the theatre’s board.

The theatre began life as Guiseley Town Hall. It was built in 1867 using public subscriptions from residents, including a large donation from entrepreneur Sir Matthew William Thompson, who gifted the town hall ‘to the people of Guiseley forever’. The building has had many uses, most notably as the home of Guiseley Amateur Operatic Society for close to a century. It has also been a wartime hospital, a cinema, school, fire station and library.