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£100,000 fundraising effort for cinema and arts centre in Cambourne

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A £100,000 fundraising bid has been launched to create a shared arts centre and cinema in Cambourne.

It would be sited at Cambourne Village College, where a large performance hall has been built.

The performance hall at Cambourne Village College
The performance hall at Cambourne Village College

Cambourne Village College Charitable Trust has already raised money to pay for the infrastructure, rigging and power in the hall. Tiered seating is on the way too, and next the trust wants to raise funding for a cinema projector and screen, plus surround sound, to establish a community cinema showing top-ranking films and live satellite broadcasts of theatre and opera.

Claire Coates, the village college’s principal and chair of the charitable trust, told the Cambridge Independent: “In 2017 we were due to have quite a small dining room built as part of the school extension. We worked with what was then the parish council, which had some S106 money to spend on community provision. We hugely increased the size of the dining room with a commitment to community use.”

With this £400,000, the large hall was built, but further fundraising was required to fit it out.

“We had a very significant donation from the Wolfson Foundation for a drama studio area within the hall to enhance drama education in school,” added Claire. “We also had a £30,000 donation from the Garfield Weston Foundation and £15,000 from Trinity College, Cambridge.

“That has given us money to fit it out with lighting, curtains, audio, ceiling rigs and the area to make a stage and drama studio. We’ve supplemented this with some school resource. Combined, we’ve put together about £200,000 and the Cam Academy Trust, which the Cambourne Village College is part of, has contributed a further £130,000 to enable us to get tiered seating. With these approaches, we will have in September/October time, a really high quality school theatre that can be used by the community.”

Amateur drama groups and travelling professional shows will be able to use the hall.

The new £100,000 fundraising would pay for a cinema quality projector, screen and surround sound for a community cinema to operate out of school hours, similar to the model in Saffron Walden.

“The 2017 Cambourne Parish Plan found that people felt they had to go out of town for leisure in the evenings. Cinema was the third most desired leisure amenity.

Cambourne Village College
Cambourne Village College

“The town council are backing the move and within the £100,000 we would like to include a salary for an arts development officer.”

The trust’s ambitions do not stop there, as a further phase of the project could enable the community cinema to be housed in a dedicated hall, which will help to manage a full arts programme.

“We are having a big new expansion of the school, to take our overall published admission number up to 1,650 and we are planning to open a sixth-form. We are awaiting confirmation of that from the Department of Education. We hope the plans will go to planning authorities in June.

“Within that expansion, there will be a lecture theatre, which will be an ideal size to fit out for an entirely separate smaller hall permanently dedicated to cinema.”

It is hoped this second hall could be in place in 2023.

The charitable trust says: “There is mounting evidence of the impact of arts and culture on the academic achievement, confidence, motivation and life-and-coping-skills of young people, and of its impact on the health, wealth and wellbeing of communities.”

Donations from individuals, organisations and companies are welcomed, and the school is also seeking grants and lottery funding.

Visit peoplesfundraising.com/wall/cambourne-village-college-charitable-trust to donate.

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