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Arts centre rises from the ashes to find new home

Published Thursday 30 May 2019 at 12:03

Blackburn’s Bureau Centre for the Arts has found a new base following the devastating fire which destroyed their former home.

The group has moved into the former Thwaites Visitor Centre on Penny Street, Blackburn, close to the previous centre at the Church of St. John the Evangelist.

The fire at the church on 3 April destroyed much of the Bureau’s work and building will need extensive repairs to be operational again.

Blackburn with Darwen Council, which owns the building, has been supporting the group as it searched for new premises and a suitable new home has been found at the former Daniel’s pub and Thwaites Visitor Centre.

The Council, Thwaites and The Bureau have worked together to find the most suitable venue and hope to have it up and running in the next few weeks.

The Bureau was used as an arts centre with a cafe, art gallery, cinema and community use room, art studios, darkroom and a venue for live music and a range of community events, and the group is confident it will be able to continue this in the new venue.

Kerris Casey-St Pierre, Director of The Bureau for the Arts, said:

After the fire we didn’t know where we were going at all and then we were shown this building. The Council were fantastic and took us round a couple of places and Thwaites then told us this property was available. I think when we came here it was obviously apparent that this was a space that we would be able to get up and going really quickly and start functioning again.

It is very different to the old space but it is an absolutely fantastic chance for us to be able to start getting back into the community and doing what we have always done. We are extremely grateful for all the help and support we have had from so many people and organisations, without whom we would not be in a position to carry on.”

This is the first big step on the road to recovery for the centre, but ongoing help and support is really needed to get us back on track. Anyone wanting to offer support, donations, or to volunteer, please get in touch.”

Chris Wright, Estates Manager for Thwaites, said:

Like so many people, we were saddened to see the damage caused by the fire – Daniel Thwaites has strong connections to the building. We are happy to be able to do something to help the Bureau Centre for the Arts continue to operate their fantastic activities going forwards.”

Councillor Phil Riley, Executive Member for Growth and Development, said:

Since they started up a few years ago, the Bureau has added real value to the town’s cultural offer and I’m really pleased that, thanks to Thwaites, they now have a permanent home again in another prominent town centre building.”

Any queries regarding the Bureau’s activities, or for opportunities to volunteer with the setting up of the new venue, can be made to: cath@bureaublackburn.co.uk

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