The Exchange is a multipurpose building offering a high degree of flexibility for a wide range of uses. It is a community centre, a registered charity, an arts centre and a learning centre. Offering great potential for community, leisure and entertainment activities, The Exchange also delivers a business orientated dimension.
The Exchange is the culmination and the focal point of a remarkable community initiative to take the lead in the regeneration of the historic market town of Sturminster Newton. The building embodies many significant themes; the process of regeneration, the active involvement of local people, architectural quality and environmental awareness.
In 1997 the livestock market that had made Sturminster Newton the hub of the Blackmore Vale was closed down. Seven acres of derelict land were left, only a stone’s throw from the very centre of town. This was followed in 2000 by the loss of the prize winning creamery. Residential development started to expand the population at an ever increasing rate. Contemplating the loss of amenities and employment opportunities, local people had the vision to see that the empty site offered an opportunity to give the town new heart and purpose, but that unless the community found a way to take the initiative; the opportunity would be lost forever.