Weʼve raised £30 to contribute to the capital building costs of creating the first ever Arts Centre in the town of Blandford Forum, Dorset.
- Funded on Tuesday, 1st January 2019
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Blandford Forum's population has trebled in size to over twelve thousand in the last thirty years and there is a commitment by law to build a further six hundred homes by 2026.
A common talking point that has continually surfaced over the decades is the lack of creative facilities in Blandford. It is no exaggeration to say, that when people who live in Blandford Forum are asked, what singular piece of infrastructure they consider to be missing from their town, the vast majority will answer, an Arts Centre. Blandford Forum has never had an Arts Centre and is currently the only major rural town in Dorset without this facility.
The North Dorset plan 2012-2026 (which The Fording Point forms part of) states that North Dorset has limited facilities for music and the performing arts. Blandford Forum is currently not well served with arts facilities. The Fording Point will address this need.
The venue will create jobs, provide a fresh outlet for the creative industries and local talent. It will also provide training opportunities for those seeking a career in the arts and a space for people to meet and experience a wide range of cultural programming catering for all age groups. Health based programmes for those suffering from physical or mental health issues will also be offered at the Fording Point and this will be run independently by those professionally trained in areas such as dramatherapy.
Following three informal public consultations organised by The DT11 Forum Community Partnership (no longer in existence) between 2011 and 2013 it became clear that a piece of arts infrastructure is sorely desired for the town. The work presented received no negative comments from those viewing it.
The immediate villages situated near to Blandford have all grown and our project has a local catchment area of well over twenty thousand people. Aside from the communal demand, it is expected that the innovative construction and construction materials (including straw, bale, cob, lime render, alloy, steel and many recycled elements) of the building along with landscaped areas and visiting attractions will make the venue a genuine talking point and central meeting point with genuine credentials to increase tourism and feed into other businesses in and around Blandford Forum.
Over the last five years a small team of dedicated people with wide experience of working in the arts industry have come together to build the first ever arts centre in the centre of Blandford Forum for the benefit of the town, its surrounding village communities, those who may not know the town well and those who may be visiting for the first time. The plot of land where the venue is to be built is in a very central location, so it will be perfectly positioned to inject further life and fresh untapped energy into this historic town. The venues positioning would make it a neighbour to the Town Museum and also the relatively new Victorian Garden project. The mixture of these visitor attractions along with the Fording Point’s facilities, including theatre, cinema, bar and landscaped gardens will create a busy and ambient site.
We want to work closely with the town council/tourist information, other organisations such as The North Dorset Trailway and local media to market and jointly promote the venue and its activities.
We have been very fortunate to have had the assistance of the Charity of William Williams (a three-hundred-year-old Charitable Trust who are dedicated to helping those at a disadvantage in the local community) who have given over land for the venue to be built on. We have negotiated an initial twenty five-year lease for the site. It is also important to note that we will pay them a yearly rental, but this money will go directly into the bursaries that they distribute to those within the local community. It is important to note, that we are not dealing with a purely commercial landlord. The Charity of William Williams have the best interests of the project at heart and in essence, we are all in this for the long term and want it to become a self-financing organisation and charitable contributor to the local community.
Updates appear here
Jon Ivay started crowdfunding
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Sep 7, 2018
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