The Culture Trust Luton: promoting connectivity through culture

The Culture Trust Luton aims to connect communities of Luton and beyond through culture by providing opportunities to engage with arts, museums and heritage.

Social Problem

As the town and its population has grown over recent years, so too should the cultural fabric of the town, but with limited local revenue and capital resources The Culture Trust has needed to develop new ways to build and grow its work.


The charity decided to take proactive steps towards securing long-term sustainability by developing a Creative Industry Cluster around its Hat Factory Arts Centre in the centre of Luton. The Culture Trust purchased two historic factory buildings and is developing them into income generating creative workspaces. This entrepreneurial approach means The Culture Trust will not only be able to increase their impact within the creative community but also boost their independent income to become less reliant on external funding.


With the help of a national capital fundraising campaign and a loan of £1.365m from Charity Bank, it completed two refurbishments of former Hat Factories in 2019.


Owning the freehold on these buildings has allowed the charity a sense of financial freedom and permanency. It has also enabled them to rejuvenate an important part of Luton’s historic heritage while simultaneously looking towards the future. Through the provision of its new creative workspace, networks and events for aspiring young artists, creatives and entrepreneurs, the Trust supports a growing ecology which will benefit the whole town through jobs, visitor destinations, increased spend and the night-time economy.

“We never fail to be impressed with how much our Charity Bank regional manager knows about our business. You don’t get that if a file gets passed from person to person. Tim knows the team, and we communicate well and therefore every conversation we have, we can hit the ground running.”

Marie Kirbyshaw, Chief Executive, The Culture Trust, Luton

About Charity Bank

Charity Bank is the loans and savings bank owned by and committed to supporting the social sector. Since 2002, we have used our savers’ money to make more than 1,000 loans totalling over £300m to housing, education, social care, community and other social purpose organisations.

Find out more about us here.

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