The people of Lincoln are being invited to help secure the future of the Drill Hall

The charity which runs the Drill Hall in Lincoln facing an annual shortfall of over £100,000, the arts centre is kickstarting a number of campaigns aimed at raising funds, and also engaging more visitors and acts.

Campaigns currently underway include: ‘Buy A Brick Campaign’, whereby supporters can donate £10 a year, or £50 for a family, to add to a ‘wall of supporters’, and ‘Pay What You Decide’ evenings, encouraging the public to attend things that they might not otherwise consider and afterwards deciding what they think it was worth.

The Drill Hall offers over 400 live arts experiences each year, with over 100,000 people attending. Events range from music and comedy events, to sensory workshops and creative play for pre-school children, drama sessions for kids aged 3 to 17, social nights for adults with disabilities and dance classes for the over-50s.

Gavin Street, Manager at the Drill Hall, explains how: “A few months ago, it looked as though we would be closing around this time [April-May 2019], but we’re still here.

“We are currently preparing for the Beer Festival, as the hall is the charity of choice for them this year, so they’re raising fund for us. Also, the Lincoln Indian Society is fundraising, and we are having a gala in October. Staff are fundraising, doing the Three Peaks challenge

“I must say a big thank you to everyone who has supported us so far. We are hopeful for the future. Out of necessity comes great ideas and great partnerships, and that is what we’re seeing.

“Also, the City of Lincoln Council has been incredibly supportive. For a number of years, they’ve avoided passing on the financial pressure they’re facing, to us, but unfortunately now it’s created this problem for us.

The Drill Hall has been a part of Lincoln for almost 130 years, and Gavin emphasises how important it is to safeguard its future: “The Drill Hall is a part of the fabric of Lincoln. Couples have met their here, families have played with their kids here. It’s part of what Lincoln is.”

“We found from our research that people knew what the Drill Hall is, but not necessarily what we do. We have the live show and events, but we’re more like a village hall, or community centre. We provide a social opportunity. Workshops, classes and opportunities for people to try new things.”

The Drill Hall offers over 400 live arts experiences each year, with over 100,000 people attending. Events range from music and comedy events, to sensory workshops and creative play for pre-school children, drama sessions for kids aged 3 to 17, social nights for adults with disabilities and dance classes for the over-50s.

Over the years, the hall has seen world famous acts, with the likes of Lee Evans, Jack Dee, Michael McIntyre and Russell Howard all having performed sets in the early days of their career.

The hall was closed in 1999, but reopened due to public demand in 2003, after a £2.3million refurbishment. Recent figures have gone so far as to show that for every £1 invested in the centre by the council, £8 is generated for the city’s economy.

Encouraging Lincoln residents, and visitors alike to get involved, Gavin adds: “There’s nothing quite like a live show. Face-to-face with an act, going out, engaging socially with other people. Even if people say they don’t like a show, or it wasn’t their cup of tea, they will often say how they’ve had a great evening, met new friends, how the staff are lovely, seats are comfortable, drinks reasonably priced. It’s about more than just the act.”

To find out what is on at the Drill Hall, or to help support by buying a brick, you can visit www.lincolndrillhall.com or visit the venue on Freeschool Lane, LN2 1EY.

by Tom McBeth (June 2019)

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