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Battersea Arts Centre wins renovation grant

Battersea Arts Centre (BAC) has been awarded a £15,000 grant from Wandsworth Council to help renovate the Grand Hall of their Grade II* Listed home on Lavender Hill.

The funds were awarded through the council’s Town Centre Improvement Scheme (TCIS) which provides grants and interest free loans for local businesses to develop their premises.

The arts centre is based at the Old Town Hall, Lavender Hill, Clapham Junction.

Executive member for the environment and culture Cllr Sarah McDermott said:

“We’re delighted to support this project which will see the Grand Hall restored and the room’s acoustics improved to suit its new use as an auditorium.

“BAC is a huge asset to Battersea where people from all over London come to see some truly exceptional performances. It provides an invaluable starting point for young talent and works closely with local schools and community groups to encourage more people to get involved with the arts.”

The Old Town Hall, which is owned by Wandsworth Council, is currently undergoing a long-term redevelopment programme to restore the building’s historic fabric while creating a state-of-the-art performance environment.

The restoration project stems back to 2008 when the council granted BAC a new 125-year lease for the building, with the first twenty years completely rent-free.

Under the proposal the arts centre took on responsibility for its own finances which had been costing local taxpayers £223,000 a year.

As an independent institution BAC has been able to lever in major redevelopment funding and their rent-free period has given them the security to get their business plan off the ground.

The arrangement has seen the arts centre go from strength to strength and 2010 is set to be another impressive year with more than 1,000 performances and arts events planned.

The two institutions continue to work together with council representatives sitting on the BAC board and members of the arts centre advising the council’s cultural policy partnership.

The success of the arrangement has been independently recognised with an Excellence Award for a Public Sector Partnership from Third Sector Magazine.

Date posted: 29 June 2010