Lincoln Drill Hall is expressing its gratitude after raising more than £7,000 in the first seven days of a major fundraising campaign ‘Be a Brick’.

People and businesses are being asked to ‘Be a Brick’ and buy a brick to give the charity-run arts centre their support for £10 or £50 per year.

Those who donate can leave a message on a colourful, smiling brick on a virtual wall explaining why they’re giving the Drill Hall their support.

Lincoln Drill Hall is facing a major fundraising challenge and needs to raise £130,000 each year to continue its work in the community after a series of reductions of public funding.

Lincoln Drill Hall’s chief executive, Chris Kirkwood said:

“I can’t believe just how many people have chosen to ‘Be a Brick’ and support Lincoln Drill Hall in just one week of our campaign. It’s a great start, but we know we have a long way to go. We’re feeling very loved by the people of Lincoln and Lincolnshire right now and we want to say a big thank you to everyone who’s chosen to donate. Not only is the money very welcomely received, we’re also very grateful for the lovely messages that people have left on their bricks. It’s put a real spring in our step and I’m now really hopeful for the rest of our fundraising campaign.”

The venue has been run by the charity, Lincoln Arts Trust since 2010, and has been lucky to receive a significant amount of public funding. After budget cuts in recent years however, the venue is facing a real risk of closure unless it can raise enough money in donations.

Messages that have been left on the bricks on Lincoln Drill Hall’s donation wall include:

  • “All the world’s a stage - keep bringing the world to Lincoln!” - Susan Meggett

  • “Thanks for all you for do for us. Not only are you space that encourages our creativity and a place to meet for our community, but you are a home for our freedom. We love you” - Alex Thornton

  • We love this venue! We have watched our son perform here with New Youth Theatre for many years. We also enjoy popping in for a coffee and cake. A very relaxed and friendly place to be! - Jackie Ponways

  • “Having played once a month for 14 years (give or take) in the cafe/ bar I can safely say what an important role the Drill Hall plays in Lincoln's cultural life. Long may it continue!” - John Illingworth

  • “Watched the British Bulldog here with one son and my other son gigged here and met his future wife here again after many years” - Paul Walker
  • “This is such a special place both to myself and the people of Lincoln, we must do our best to make sure it remains open. Myself and my mother enjoy all the shows and pantomimes every single year xxx” - Justin Hussey

Lincoln MP, Karen Lee has also given the campaign her support. Karen said: “Very pleased to pop along to Lincoln Drill Hall this afternoon to buy a brick for just a tenner a year. So important that Lincoln keeps this wonderful place; art & culture should be for the many, not just the privileged few.”

Even folk rock band, Fairport Convention, who performed at the Drill Hall this week, bought bricks and left messages on the wall. Band members, Ric Sanders and Dave Pegg said: “Lincoln Drill Hall forever! We love it here!” and “Please keep this lovely venue open!”

Meanwhile, the band’s tour manager, Mick Peters left a particularly touching message on his brick:

“The Drill Hall MUST remain as a theatre and community hub. The venue is a great asset to Lincoln. The building itself has so much history and is a link to my families past. My late uncle spent his last evening here before flying out from Skellingthorpe base, never to return. I give my full support to Lincoln Drill Hall, its wonderful staff and patrons.”

Several bricks have been named in honour of people who’ve visited and loved the Drill Hall during its 190 year history, making for especially poignant messages of support.

Lincoln Drill Hall hosts a wide range of events, performances and programmes for the community. The Drill Hall hosts Fish Tank Youth Theatre groups for 6 to 18 year olds, the Happy Monday Club with creative play sessions for under 5s, The Butterfly Club which is Lincoln’s only night club exclusively for people with disabilities, Full Bloom dance and movement classes for over 50s and a wide range of arts performances that promote up-and-coming talent. The venue also brings big names to the city, with a long list of famous acts having performed on the stage.

Lincoln Drill Hall also works across Lincolnshire on projects including The Caterpillar Club, a touring disco for children with disabilities piloted last year with support from Children In Need. The charity is also developing a series of youth arts projects with the Lincolnshire YMCA at The Showroom and working with a number of community and voluntary groups such as Compassionate Lincoln and Lincolnshire Sepsis Support Group.

The red-brick Drill Hall with its imposing battlements and watchtower that looks out onto Broadgate and the softer, more modern entrance which (literally) faces Free School Lane welcomes over 100,000 people per year.

The building was the home of the 4th Battalion of the Lincolnshire Regiment until 1950 when it became an arts and entertainment venue. The Drill Hall closed in 1999 after the building fell into disrepair, but a £2.6m renovation project enabled it to reopen in 2004 with modern facilities, a highly flexible, state of the art auditorium, a cafe bar and performance rooms.

During its history, a long list of famous names have appeared there including The Rolling Stones, Elvis Costello, Ultravox, Iron Maiden, The Buzzcocks, Jamie Cullum, Jack Dee, Lee Evans, Michael Mcintyre, Sarah Millican, Jason Manford, Jenny Agutter, Kevin Bridges, Lesley Garrett and The Proclaimers. The Drill Hall has also hosted BBC Question Time on numerous occasions and, last year was the only venue outside of London to host a BBC Prom.

If you’d like to support Lincoln Drill Hall and ‘Be a Brick’, visit www.lincolndrillhall.co.uk  

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