Helen brought the community campaign to save The Witham to the House of Commons, asking for the support of the Culture Secretary and Arts Council England at DCMS questions on Thursday.
The Witham is currently fundraising to keep its doors open in the wake of a funding gap. The community arts centre in the heart of Barnard Castle are approaching the finish line of a campaign to raise £30k in 30 days, whilst working hard to secure a long term future for the arts in Barney.
Helen secured a question to Jeremy Wright in the House of Commons, alerting the new Secretary of State of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to the funding issues, and promoted the virtues of the arts centre.
She asked the Minister: “One key attraction for tourists is Arts. So will he ask the Arts Council to support the very excellent Witham arts centre in Barnard Castle?”
In response, Jeremy Wright MP said: “I am very grateful to the Honourable Lady. I am not familiar with it yet – but I’m sure I soon will be.” He assured Helen that he’ll “certainly be speaking to the Arts Council about the work it can do across the country, including her part of the world, to support [the arts].”
In a Facebook post, The Witham shared a video clip of the exchange between the two MPs, and issued their thanks for the ongonig support the Investing in The Witham appeal has received so far.
They also stressed the importance of multiple funding streams for the sustainability of the centre.
They said: “Thank you to our MP Helen Goodman for speaking up for The Witham in Parliament this week. It is wonderful to have your support and amazing to hear The Witham mentioned in the Houses of Parliament.
“The public response to our fundraising campaign has been fantastic and we are working to secure grant funding from various sources to support our work going forward, including the Arts Council.
“It is only by working to generate funds through three channels (public giving, corporate support and grant funding) that The Witham’s long-term future can be secured.
“Thank you to all who are supporting The Witham.”
UPDATE: The £30k in 30 days fundraiser was a big success, bringing in over £42,000 for The Witham. The ‘Investing in the Witham’ campaign continues to work towards a long term future. You can find out more and get involved on their website.