New life for Newbury’s Old Library

Round & About

A public fundraising campaign is being launched to repurpose the interior of Newbury’s Old Library to meet the creative wellbeing needs of the local community

Can you help open up the historic much-loved Old Library to connect with the community and boost opportunities for all ages through creative activities?

The Corn Exchange (Newbury) Trust, which comprises of the Corn Exchange, 101 Outdoor Arts and the Learning Centre, and which also manages The Base Greenham, will restore this beloved Newbury building, creating a permanent home for creative participation work to engage locals with the arts.

Corn Exchange’s creative initiatives focus on improving access to high quality cultural experiences, particularly to improve mental health, and to support older communities and young people. These activities seek to address issues of social isolation, health inequality, and deprivation in West Berkshire, and dismantle the financial barriers that historically prevented people from pursuing the arts.

Key projects set to feature at the Old Library include Ageing Creatively, addressing social isolation of older communities with classes with 5,000 engagements annually, and Links to Thrive, a pioneering ‘arts on prescription’ project bringing free creative opportunities to people with mental health conditions.

Careers in the Arts (run jointly with the Watermill Theatre) will also operate from the new venue; working with local schools and young people to raise aspiration and awareness of the career opportunities within the creative industries and to develop transferable skills through creative engagement, advice, mentoring and fully-funded placements. This area of the company’s work is flourishing, with 27,000 attendees across these programmes in 2022/23.

Jessica Jhundoo-Evans, Director of Corn Exchange Newbury & 101 Outdoor Arts, said: “We are asking you to help us raise the money to transform the Old Library into a new community space and a permanent home for our creative participation activity. This area of our work provides a wide range of inclusive opportunities with specific projects for young people, schools, under-5s and new parents, over-55s, and a thriving youth theatre. It provides a lifeline to many local people and is more vital now than ever before: reducing social isolation and loneliness within our community; improving mental health locally; and supporting young people in building confidence and self-esteem.

“The Old Library is the perfect new space and we are asking for your support to help open up this historic, much-loved Newbury building for our community. With dedicated engagement spaces, a small cafĂ©/bar and a place to gather and connect with others, the possibilities for our communities are really exciting.”

For further information and to donate, please visit Old Library fundraising campaign (