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17 August 2020 at 10:40 am

OUR LAST CHANCE TO SAVE LINCOLN DRILL HALL

Article Author:
Sarah Edwards

Since 2004 Lincoln Drill Hall has been at the centre of Lincoln’s cultural life. Throughout that time we have been lucky to have received incredible support from the City of Lincoln Council. Actually, without them, the much loved venue might never have re-opened.
 
Their support has enabled Lincoln Arts Trust (the organisation set up in 2010 to manage the Drill Hall) to continue offering residents and visitors to Lincoln an incredible array of arts and entertainment opportunities. Quite simply, together we have made Lincoln Drill Hall the cultural heartbeat of Lincoln. However, the future of the organisation is now at real risk.
 
You may have seen recently a petition that has garnered thousands of signatures urging the Council to continue funding the Trust to protect the cultural offer the venue provides to the City. The petition is to be heard by the Council on the 26 August, the same date at which recommendations will be agreed regarding future funding arrangements.
 
There is a very real possibility that the City Council will choose not to renew the Service Level Agreement with Lincoln Arts Trust. If that happens then no further funding will be forthcoming after March 2021. If the Council decides to follow this path, and not renew the funding agreement, or even look to further reduce the grant, then the impact of this decision will have a profound effect on our future, almost certainly leading to the closure of the venue.
 
It would also remove our ability to apply for other funding streams aimed at saving cultural assets up and down the country. It would have a knock on effect to thousands of young people who perform on our stage, hundreds of adults and children with disabilities who rely on the venue for the safe haven it provides. It will affect artists and freelancers who will lose a source of income and drama graduates who want to make Lincoln their home to create exciting new work. It will affect our staff team who will lose their jobs having worked tirelessly and beyond what should be expected of them to continue our work.
 
The decision will have a wider financial impact on the City in the long term too. Other cultural investment will be lost, and Lincoln will lose the £1.6m in economic impact that is derived every year from our activity alone. It is no secret that the Trust was facing financial challenges prior to the Coronavirus pandemic. We’ve never hidden the fact. We’ve absorbed over £500,000 in real term reductions to public funding since 2013 and the current pandemic has exacerbated that challenge.
 
Thousands of you have Bought A Brick in support of our fundraising efforts and we utterly appreciate your support, but if the Council withdraws its funding then there just won’t be enough anymore. Without a new agreement from the City of Lincoln Council, or an equivalent sum of funding, we will not be able to reopen.
 
Many of you have already written to their Councillors expressing their desire to see this support continue. If you haven’t yet, please do so and make your voice heard. The petition can be found here 
 
This is, quite simply, our LAST chance to Save Lincoln Drill Hall.
 
Sincerely yours,
 
The Lincoln Drill Hall Team

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