Financial woes and landlord feuds have forced the creative wellness centre to shut up shop

To renovate a Grade II-listed nineteenth century paper mill into 7000 sq ft of event space, complete with organic café, was always going to be a big task. Even more so when the building’s owners would rather turn it into apartments. 

This was the situation that Gibraltan folk singer Kirsty Almeida faced on developing The Wonder Inn, a community interest company designed to promote wellness through a lively calendar spanning yoga to meditation, inspiring talks to world music and workshops. 

Ceilidhs, book launches, face yoga, martial arts, West African dance, gong baths, morning raves… pretty much everything has gone over The Wonder Inn’s electric two and a half years: earning it a special place in the local community. Delightfully bonkers, it’s managed to span that tricky divide between new age hippyism and general public. 

2017 10 18 Kirsty Almeida
Folk singer Kirsty Almeida founded The Wonder Inn following a painful breakup

However, constant funding issues always meant progress was slow and disagreements with the landlord caused a series of problems; beginning with The Real Junk Food Project, who had planned to open up there, deciding to find alternative premises. On being threatened with eviction, Almeida was forced to launch a crowdfunding campaign in April last year and - while only reaching a third of the target - raised enough funds and positive publicly to keep the project going. 

Now, it seems financial struggles have finally caught up with Almeida and her team, who yesterday announced on Facebook that the eclectic three-storey venue would be closing its doors for good on 31 October:  

It is with great love and huge gratitude that we write this.

The Wonder Inn at 29 Shudehill, Manchester will close on the 31st of October this month.

As many of you know, it has become increasingly difficult to financially honour and heat the project and its wonderfully huge building and we have decided to return its keys. This decision has taken incredible consideration and is absolutely made with the twinkle of where and how we may co-create The Wonder Inn in the future.

We transformed ourselves and 29 Shudehill’s wonderful Grade II listed building during a very special journey over the last three years which has led us and very many to meet incredible communities in Manchester, the North West and around the world. We created magic and light - together.

We are very thankful and honoured to have had such wonderful premises in which to create our conscious programme and creative offering and we thank you all for your support, creativity, brilliance, trust and love.

The Wonder Inn was made, grown and cared for by so many and the team who co-created it are warriors. We have built it with love and with the dream of a new world and for so many moments we were all there and will continue to be so. Thank you for supporting us and for believing in magic.

We are certain that many of you will have incredible ideas of how The Wonder Inn can co-create its next existence so please feel inspired to write to us and please join us in the coming weeks to enjoy our goodbye to this special space.

Love & light  The Team at The Wonder Inn

It’s a sad loss, made more so by the possibility the characterful three-storey building may be converted into apartments. However, we suspect The Wonder Inn may see another reincarnation yet. Meantime, there are events every day until its closure - including ‘clowning and improvisation for beginners.’

Only at The Wonder Inn…