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Community social hub for Dales lands windfall
4:48pm Thursday 19th September 2013 in News
A COMMUNITY group has been awarded a £37,000 grant to transform a former school into an arts centre and cinema.
Five years after the closure of the Elite cinema, in Leyburn, the leaders of Leyburn Arts Centre have announced the second phase of their plan to create a social hub for the town and the Yorkshire Dales was set to be completed by March.
The group aims to use the Richmondshire District Council grant and £18,000 from the Elm House Trust, set up following the death of Majorie Freeman, of Redmire, to redevelop the former St Peter and St Paul Primary School for an array of uses.
It has also received £1,000 from the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England, £2,000 from the Leyburn and Mid-Wensleydale Partnership, £500 from Leyburn Town Council.
Having completed £26,000 of work to remove walls, install plumbing and decorate a cafe area, the £61,000 second phase will see a new foyer created, computers, theatrical drapes and furniture bought and acoustic treatment and floor restoration in the main hall.
The £14,000 final phase, which is yet to receive funding, will include the installation of a demountable stage and the development of a venue website and ticket booking system.
Dawn Clarkson, lead director of the centre said the venue, part of which opened in July, would provide rooms for hire as well as a home for groups including the Leyburn Artistic Drama Society, Wensleydale Troopers panto company, a slimming club, portrait painters and children’s dance classes.
She said there are also plans to open a University of the Third Age branch at the venue, stage some Swaledale Festival events and launch an adults’ gardening club in the venue’s garden, which would generate produce for the venue’s cafe.
She said: “Isolation in rural areas is a major issue and it is hoped some of the activities at the centre will go some way to addressing that.”
The council has also given The Dales Festival of Art a £10,000 grant to extend a programme of rural arts and creativity workshops at 12 locations, mostly in the deeply rural communities in the Upper Dales.
The workshops will offer participants a chance to create art or crafts and the chance to network with others who share similar interests.
Councillor John Blackie, leader of the council, said the project would provide an opportunity for residents of remote areas that often miss out on mainstream social activities.
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