A community-run venture in the Moorlands is celebrating its tenth anniversary. It was back in 2011 when a band of volunteers took on the lease for the Foxlowe building which is situated in Church Street at the top of Leek’s Market Place.
A community-run venture in the Moorlands is celebrating its tenth anniversary.
It was back in 2011 when a band of volunteers took on the lease for the Foxlowe building which is situated in Church Street at the top of Leek’s Market Place.
Ten years on and the Georgian building is practically owned by the community as the charity trust, which runs it, is now paying off a Foxlowe Loan Scheme – which saw supporters lend money to help pay off the previous private mortgage.
The Foxlowe Arts Centre has gone from strength to strength and almost every part of the building is now fully occupied and used for various activities and businesses – all with the same ethos of the creative arts.
On the ground floor there is a thriving cafe, called the Drawing Room, as well as the Fox & Crow Gallery which is run by a consortium of local artists.
At the back of the building there is the recently refurbished and reconfigured Bromfield Room which is used as a function room and also to put on a host of entertainment from comedy and theatre to music – the venue has played host to many fantastic local, regional, national and international acts.
Moving to the first floor, there is a spacious art gallery which hosts many fabulous exhibitions throughout the year, and there is a meeting room available for hire. There is also the Rainbow Room which is used for Foxlowe Film screenings and is also available for hire for different activities.
Other rooms on this floor are hired out to a number of creative businesses, as too is the entire top floor space which has been named as the Creative Hub.
Outside, there are beautiful gardens which are lovingly tended to by the Foxlowe garden team, as well as the Gateway Shed – which is a community workshop space.
The Foxlowe Arts Centre is run by a group of trustees, along with a band of co-ordinators for each department of the venture, and an army of fellow volunteers. There is also a number of paid staff including a centre manager, cook, as well as cafe and bar staff.
Current chair of the Foxlowe Arts Centre, Chris Thompson said: “It is our tenth year and through it all we have survived.
“This being my fourth year as Chair I have had the greatest pleasure to meet a diverse mix of people and as a non-political and secular organisation the Foxlowe Arts Centre has always been an inclusive charity and that’s been our strength.
“We may not get regular grants but as a grassroots organisation we are only as strong as our supporters and those supporters, along with our Creative Hub rentals, have carried us through these recent difficulties.”
Chris added: “Thank you goes to all our pledgers, volunteers, staff, and those who use and support the Foxlowe in others ways – without all of them, we would not be where we are today.”
Last Wednesday, the Foxlowe trustees played host to a Supporters’ Evening in celebration of the ten years of the community venture. The event took place to also update the venue’s supporters about what’s been happening over the last 12 months and what plans there are for the future.
Trustees are currently working on moving forward with a plan to extend the Bromfield Room to provide a larger entertainment space – something which the town of Leek has very much needed since the Town Hall was demolished in the 1980s.
Anyone with any ideas on such plans, and/or any fundraising initiatives to be able to move forward with this ambition, is asked to get in contact with the trust via the Foxlowe website.
To find out more about the Foxlowe Arts Centre, go online to www.foxloweartscentre.org.uk.
People can also pick up the venue’s latest newsletter from the venue, to read more about the past decade at the Foxlowe in a special article which has been written by founder trustee Peter Kent-Baguley.
We are the only family run, independent newspaper and magazine business in Staffordshire, established 1896. We are home to three weekly newspapers – The Cheadle and Tean Times (aka The Stunner), The Uttoxeter Echo and The Leek & Moorlands Echo.
We also produce Peeps into the Past, a bi-monthly nostalgic glimpse into our photographic archives, and three bi-monthly glossy lifestyle magazines – Stone and Eccleshall Life, Leek Life and Newcastle Life.
T. 01538 752214 or 753162
18 Tape Street, Cheadle, Staffs ST10 1BD
5 Church Street, Uttoxeter, Staffs ST14 8AG
(Uttoxeter Office is a postal address only)
Other useful contacts:
CURRENT OPENING TIMES
Mon & Tues 9am-11am