The Piece Hall Trust reveals new board of trustees

The Piece Hall Trust has announced the appointment of five, new influential Trustees who will help drive the strategic direction of The Piece Hall as a unique cultural, heritage, retail, leisure and hospitality offer.

The news follows the recent re-opening of the Grade I listed building, which closed during the pandemic, and marks a renewed focus in supporting both the local economy and the recovery of the wider Yorkshire tourism sector from the pandemic as well as developing The Piece Hall’s reputation amongst national and international audiences.

The new trustees:

Senior businesswoman, passionate mentor and diversity champion Noor Ali. Noor is senior buying manager for World Foods, Free From and Health & Wellbeing at Morrisons and brings sound business advice to the Board, reflected in the numerous accolades she has earned throughout her career including Businesswoman of the Year 2011 at the Asian Women of Achievement Awards and British Empire Medal in June 2017 for Services to Diversity in the Retail Industry. She will also support the Trust in developing the culture and diversity of the venue.

Syima Aslam, is founder and director of Bradford Literature Festival, which welcomes over 70,000 visitors to Bradford annually and is celebrated as the most socio-economically and ethnically diverse literary festival in the UK. Having grown-up in Halifax, Syima has fond memories of The Piece Hall from an early age, and will help to shape a diverse and successful future for the venue as a Trustee.

Bringing artistic insight to the Board, innovative musician Gregory Batsleer will also help to drive the success of one of the most exciting cultural spaces in the UK. Having previously assumed the role of artistic director of the National Portrait Gallery’s Choir; curated performances at Latitude Festival and Wilderness Festival; and worked as an artistic adviser and collaborator with artists including Elbow and Simon Armitage, Gregory now enjoys a varied career and is well-immersed in the artistic and cultural spheres.

Ben Smith brings a wealth of experience from across the technology and entertainment sectors to his role as Trustee. Having worked on high-profile films including 28 Days Later and Hannibal before moving into digital media to work for the likes of the BBC and The Times.

Ben then co-founded acclaimed technology company Laduma in 2015 and in 2019 became president of the Really Epic Dog Group, overseeing eight businesses across four continents.

Having worked for the BBC for 30 years serving local, regional and national audiences, holding posts including head of BBC Yorkshire and editor of BBC Look North, Tim Smith played a part in bringing Children in Need to The Piece Hall in 2017 and the Antiques Roadshow into its vast courtyard the following year. He now brings leadership experience and a passion for giving something back to the venue in his role as Trustee.

Roger Marsh OBE DL, Chair of The Piece Hall Trust, said:

“This is an exciting new chapter for The Piece Hall Trust. We’re delighted to be bringing together such a diverse and experienced range of Trustees who, together with the Executive Team, will help shape the future of this unique and iconic building.”

“Our new Trustees come from a wide range of backgrounds spanning media, retail, culture and business. We’re confident that their expertise and insights, along with their networks, will play an important part in helping create strategies that will secure The Piece Hall’s rightful place on the world’s stage.”

The announcement follows the publication of The Piece Hall Trust’s 2019/2020 annual review which documented its ‘exemplar’ performance, which included the generation of £26m to the local economy since its landmark renovation in 2017. Prior to the building closing, due to the pandemic, total visitor numbers exceeded seven million. The Piece Hall Trust will support the recovery and rebuilding of the local and regional economy through its proven economic capacity as a destination that continues to attract visitors.

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