Council backs £500,000 proposal to boost Bridport Arts Centre facilities

Dorset Echo: Bridport Arts Centre new director Polly Gifford Buy this photo » Bridport Arts Centre new director Polly Gifford

A HALF-million-pound revamp is being lined up to boost facilities at Bridport Arts Centre.

Members of Bridport Town Council’s finance and general purposes committee heard that the centre aims to embark on the second phase of its development plan.

They supported the proposal in principle and earmarked £500 subject to West Dorset District Council also confirming funding.

Members considered a letter from arts centre director Polly Gifford which spelled out the need for work to be done.

She said: “In developing the next phase of the capital plan we want to focus on significant improvements to the interior of the building with the aim of making the arts centre a more sustainable and resilient organisation, better able to offer a better service to visitors.”

She added: “We are currently missing opportunities for increased revenue generation provided by the ongoing developments in the programme, as a result of inadequate facilities.

“This stage two capital plan aims to bring the building and its facilities up to high standards of the programme, enabling the arts centre to have a more sustainable future and to continue to offer the highest quality arts programme for another 40 years.”

The proposals include: n Improved access to the gallery by removing the staircase and fitting a lift n Upgrade the gallery lighting system and floor n Improving the theatre infrastructure n Improving the foyer, bar, cafe and toilets n Extending the kitchen n Creating extra office space for the expanding staff The proposals come after the first phase of development was completed in 2010. This included remodelling the forecourt and facade of the building and installing a multi-media screen.

The building is owned by the Bridport Arts Centre Charitable Trust.

Trustees intend to apply to the Arts Council England as well as the Heritage Lottery Fund for the bulk of the funding.

Other sources of income include trusts, foundations, councils and a local fundraising campaign.

Dorset County Council has already pledged £1,000.

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