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Stowmarket: Museum of East Anglian Life needs cash boost

09:51 13 November 2012

The official opening of Abbot

The official opening of Abbot's Hall at the Museum of East Anglian Life in April

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THE director of the Museum of East Anglian Life has said it is crucial to receive funding to support its Abbot’s Hall facility.

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The comments came after Stowmarket Town Council debated funding proposals for the museum in a meeting last Wednesday.

The museum needs £5,000 a year for maintenance work at Abbot’s Hall which was opened in April after undergoing a £3million restoration project.

Tony Butler, director of the museum, warned of the consequences of not receiving the support, adding: “It would make life more complicated – we might have to look at other sources.

“It would be disappointing if it happens. I think we have a really good relationship with the council and a number of them are really supportive of us.”

He said the museum had received funding from the council between 2005-08.

Abbot’s Hall, which dates back to the 18th Century, is free to enter but has maintenance costs of £20,000 a year.

In the meeting, mayor Anne Whybrow said: “Hopefully, we are reaching a point where we can employ some of our income to things that will benefit the community.”

Councillor Keith Scarff suggested the museum should apply via the council’s grants system which gives money to local charities.

But councillor Nigel Rozier had concerns that other arts facilities in the town like The Mix and The John Peel Centre for Creative Arts would also want funding.

Mr Butler said the museum faced large ongoing costs because of its vast 80-acre site and 25 buildings which needed maintaining.

He said the museum currently received £119,000 a year from Suffolk County Council and £20,000 a year from Mid Suffolk District Council.

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