Cash appeal to get folk art centre project in Bury St Edmunds off the ground

Terry Walden is pictured at the back of Bury Railway Station outside the building he is planning to

Terry Walden is pictured at the back of Bury Railway Station outside the building he is planning to transform into The Milkmaid Folk Music Arts Centre. - Credit: Archant

An urgent call for fundraising is being made to get a project for a folk art centre for disadvantaged and vulnerable people off the ground.

Terry Walden is behind plans to refurbish an old railway building at Bury St Edmunds train station and transform it into a venue where people with disabilities and mental health issues can access music, art, drama and dance connected to folk.

It would also be open to the community to hire in the evenings and weekends.

Mr Walden, who is managing director of The Milkmaid Folk Arts Centre Community Interest Company (CIC), said the project had an immediate bill to pay of nearly £20,000 for architectural work, licence fees and surveyor and engineer reports, yet only had £1,800 towards this.

He is calling on people’s support to help raise the cash, adding if 1,000 each gave £1 the campaign would be a success. He said: “Please help us raise money to refurbish part of Bury St Edmunds railway station.

“We are turning it into a folk-based arts centre which will accommodate people with disabilities and mental health issues during the day; the evenings and weekends will be for the whole community to enjoy, participate in and create folk music, song and dance.

“The specifically-designed and bespoke venue will seat 120 people and will be available for promoters to hire.

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“It will have three workshop spaces for various activities and a refreshment area which will be licensed.”

Planning permission was granted last year to convert the building, Downside, into the centre.

Mr Walden, who had been looking for a suitable building for the project since 2007, said the venue would mean activities Milkmaid is already running could be brought together under one roof, and new ones could be started.

“There’s nothing around like this,” he said.

He said the whole cost of the refurbishment is £540,000, of which £174,000 has been pledged.

Donations can be made through the website www.milkmaidcentre.com or visit www.milkmaid.charitycheckout.co.uk

People can donate a one-off amount or sign up to a monthly standing order which will give the project a regular amount coming in through the year.

Mr Walden added: “Anything you can afford from £1 to a million pounds will be gratefully received!”

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