The Piece Hall’s Chief Executive Officer, Nicky Chance-Thompson DL is the latest person in the hot seat for our Inspiration Women of Halifax series.
Monday 8th March marked International Women’s Day, a global day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.
One of the themes for this year’s International Women’s Day is to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements. Halifax is a town full of successful, strong independent women who continue to make a positive difference to the area and society, so we wanted to highlight a few in a series of Q&As. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be chatting to several influential women in Halifax to learn more about the community and the people in the town.
Next in our series is The Piece Hall’s Nicky Chance-Thompson DL. Nicky, who is also a part of the Welcome to Yorkshire Board, is the Chief Executive Officer and Trustee of the multi-award-winning The Piece Hall in Halifax.
Since The Piece Hall reopened in 2017, it’s become a cultural icon in the town and attracted plenty of visitors to the area with several high-profile events from art, film, music events and visual spectacles. It’s also home to independent retailers, bars and restaurants too and like everyone, we’re excited about its reopening.
Ahead of its reopening, we caught up with Nicky to find out about her role, what she enjoys most about her job and her biggest achievement.
Tell us about yourself and what you do.
I am the Chief Executive Officer or Chief Caretaker of the iconic and multi-award winning Piece Hall in Halifax. The Piece Hall Trust have operated the building since its re-opening 2017, following a major transformation. It is the only remaining Georgian Cloth Hall in the world and has been called ‘the most important regeneration project of its time’ and is in the Top 10 of 100 most important English buildings according to Historic England.
Today we have 43 tenants with independent retailers, bars and restaurants. We have been referred to as the ‘independent shopping mecca of the North’ by the Yorkshire Post and many of our tenants are award-winning. We also host a large number of events and have had some iconic bands play like Elbow. We are really looking forward to welcoming some more big acts later in the Summer.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
I love the building being full of people as that’s when the building really comes alive. It’s wonderful to hear people who have visited the building for the first time and the sound of children playing in the fountains. The atmosphere at our large music events is incredible. I also enjoy walking through the gates into work. It’s a real privilege to work here.
What would say is your biggest achievement so far?
A particular highlight has to be when Elbow played in 2019, that was a really special moment. There was a real sense of pride that we had an act with the calibre of Elbow play here. Guy Garvey fell in love with Halifax but especially with our Piece Hall.
What’s been your biggest challenge to date?
The last year has been the biggest challenge to date as it has been for so many people and businesses. But I have a great Exec Team and Board who have supported me all the way through it. We are currently in a good place and look forward to re-opening to the public very soon.
I’ve missed my friends and family and being able to do the things I love but I have learned a lot this year and it’s been a great opportunity to reflect on how I was living my life.
That struggle however pales in comparison with all the great work that the NHS, Council and key workers have done to support people through the pandemic. It’s been amazing.
If you could give your younger self some advice, what would it be?
You are alright just exactly as you are. Be confident and don’t let others pull you down.
Finally, what is your favourite thing about Halifax?
All of it, the landscape and the community. It’s a pretty amazing place to live.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I am really looking forward to being able to see my family and friends again and seeing people visit and enjoy the Piece Hall once more.
For more information on International Women’s Day, visit: https://www.internationalwomensday.com/