Be a brick: Lincoln Drill Hall needs your support

Charity-run arts centre, Lincoln Drill Hall is asking members of the community to ‘be a brick’ as it seeks to overcome a major fundraising challenge.

To help it raise the £130,000 it needs to continue its work in the community each year, members of the public and local businesses have the chance to sponsor some of the 500,000 bricks that make up the historical venue.

For a donation of £10 per year, visitors to the Lincoln Drill Hall website can pick a brick from a virtual wall and leave their name and a short message along with their gift. People can sponsor as many bricks as they like, with whole walls being available for sponsorship.

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.

The theatre is making the most of other income streams including, room hire, weddings and involvement in other Arts Council England projects. They have also introduced a bold and dynamic new seating and pricing structure, with over 5,000 tickets per year priced at £12 or less and a series of performances that are ‘Pay What You Decide’. However, the charity needs to raise an extra £130,000 annually to maintain its programme of arts performances, participation programmes and community engagement projects.

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

“After losing a great deal of public funding, we need your support. If you sponsor a brick for just £10 per year, you’ll be helping us to secure the venue’s future, so that we can continue our work to help the community, support the arts and to develop young, up and coming talent.

“Lincoln Drill Hall has long been a pillar of the community that exists for the people of Lincoln. We offer a haven; a place that welcomes the whole community, but we can’t do it without you. As an Arts Centre we are far more than just the shows on the stage. We host important community engagement that no-one else does including The Butterfly Club night for adults with disabilities and carers,  youth theatre for toddlers to teens and people with disabilities and places for parents with young children to take part in music, dance and crafts, where they and their children can play, socialise and relax in the city.

“Fundraising has always been a huge challenge for a small charity like ours, but this year will prove to be the toughest year we’ve ever had. The reductions to public funding are being felt more than ever and without your support we may have no choice but to close the venue.”

People who sponsor a brick will be able to choose their exact brick online and leave their name virtually etched into it along with a message explaining why they choose to give the venue their support.

The venue, which was built during the reign of Queen Victoria as a military drill hall is a prominent feature of Lincoln that’s hosted community and social events since its construction in 1890.

Today, 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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