Donations needed for grant to secure future of The Bank Arts Centre in Eye

The Bank Arts Centre in Eye

The Bank Arts Centre in Eye - Credit: Gregg Brown

A community arts centre in a Suffolk town has made an appeal for donations to help obtain a grant worth £275,000 to secure its future.

The Bank Arts Centre has won a grant from the Social Investment Business Group, but needs pledges of around £4,000 in local donations before the end of the month to clinch the deal.

When operational, the bank, which is situated on Castle Street, was home to HSBC.

The arts centre now offers adult classes and workshops, including language lessons, song-writing and pottery, and hosts art exhibitions, live music and theatre. There is also a cafe in the building.

Rebecca Lyne, chairman of The Bank, said: “The point of the project was we saw this abandoned building, and it was important to try and reinstate it to become important to the community.


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“It always seemed really sad, as such a prominent building in the town was empty.

“It was part of the community when it was a bank, it was a key part of the town.

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“Because of where Eye is, it’s quite difficult to get around,to be able to get to access learning and creative crafts is difficult.

“It was important to be able to access adult education in Eye.”

The money will allow the arts centre, which has been in the town for 18 months, to buy the building outright, which it is currently leasing.

“The lease finishes in 18 months. The project can’t continue if we can’t buy the building.

“If we can’t buy it The Bank finishes. It was always the aim to buy the building for the community.

“It’s vital and is addressing key needs. In the future it might change for an appropriate use in 10 or so years time.

“It will be a community asset.”

The money will also replace the current arched windows with double glazing, and install a lift, which is required to make the building fully inclusive and accessible.

Ms Lyne also believes the arts centre was key in bringing together a split in the population of Eye.

She said: “There was no understanding between young and old, and we wanted to find a way to break down those barriers by bringing in culture and a way to encourage learning and thinking slightly outside of the norm.”

Ms Lyne added: “We wouldn’t have got this far without the amazing help of the most incredible volunteers who have given there time and understood the vision, and taken it and run with it.”

To pledge a donation, call The Bank on 01379 873495, or visit www.thebankeye.org/bb-appeal.html

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