AN appeal has been launched to raise money for an ambitious project that would lead to the permanent reopening of Newport’s Westgate Hotel.

Turning the city centre landmark’s lower ballroom into an events venue, its first floor gallery into a cafe and bar with an exhibition space, and improvements to general facilities through repair of longstanding damage, are among plans that could kickstart a long term transformation project.

David Daniel and Gavin Facey, directors of City Centre Social Ltd, have been key organisers in successful recent events at the hotel - including a celebration of art in lockdown and the popular Newport Rising Festival.

The pair have assembled a management team and have come to an agreement with the landlord after a chance meeting in 2018.

They are receiving financial backing from investors, and hope the aforementioned plans can quickly become a reality.

Mr Daniel says he has been fond of the building since visiting as a child in the early 2000s, and has had his eye on it since starting his own Escape Rooms business near The Riverfront.

“It’s a dream come true really and something we’re delighted about,” he said. “I met the landlord for the first time in 2018 when I noticed the door was open to the hotel. I popped my head around and asked whether there was any chance for us to start doing things with him.

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“I think at the start he was a little cautious, but we agreed to hold our first event in June 2019, and it’s taken off from there.”

Some 2,500 visitors came the Westgate in just two weeks in June last year for the launch of a graphic novel on the Chartist Uprising of 1839. This was followed by the Newport |Rising festival last November, and a hugely successful New Years Eve celebration that raised thousands of pounds for charity.


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The lockdown art exhibition in August drew 600 people

The pandemic did not get in the way either, with 600 socially distanced visitors attending a Lockdown Art Exhibition in August.

“We’re well aware these visitors aren’t coming just for the event,” Mr Daniel said. “They’re coming because they are fascinated by this beautiful building. There is so much potential here.”

The pair are crowdfunding for £10,000, and hope for an additional £20,000 from private investors. The money will go towards decorating the bottom floor.

To find our more, and to support the project, see here.

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"We're hoping that will be done by spring, and then if all goes well we can apply for further funding to do more work," added Mr Daniel.

"We've got a long period to do a lot of work, but we don't want it to drag on. We are looking to get cracking and we are focused on being fully up and running by spring."