The Forum Music Studios in Darlington awarded major capital investment

The Forum Music Studios has been awarded capital investment of £404,000 to extend, renew and repair its music facility situated on Borough Road in Darlington.Founder, Director and CEO Allison Mckay, with support from the board of Directors and the team at The Forum, have been working on the building development plans for some years, alongside localarchitects BSBA and Tim Crawshaw Urban Design.

Speaking about her delight at being awarded the investment, Allison said: “This is an exciting phase of growth for our much loved music and arts venue. “However the real exciting trigger for these ambitious developments will initiate the launch of a Share Offer enabling local people to become members of The Forum through shared ownership, along with voting rights.”

The developments will secure The Forum Music Centre for future generations as a leading grassroots music within the region.

The first phase development and investment raised through Arts Council England and member shareholders will include a new standalone state-of-the-art recording studio with sensory and high-quality digital production in order to accommodate large ensembles and bands. Furthermore, new private green room facilities will be created, as well as an accessible audience viewing mezzanine in the main auditorium to improve the artist experience and attract high profileprofessional performers to the region.To help reduce the venue’s carbon footprint, The Forum Music Centre is installing solar panels, as well as introducing an eco-friendly roof garden.

There are also plans to build a new welcome entrance, as well as an upgrade and extension to the galley kitchen. It is hoped this will help increase footfall and give opportunities for a local food social entrepreneur to operate a daily food service.

The Forum Music Centre has operated as a not-for-profit social enterprise since January 2011, having recently converted to a Community Benefit Society to recruit members with shared ownership.As part of the scheme, backers will be able to choose from a number of membership packages, with arange of membership perks and incentives on offer.

The share investment raised will provide the 10% match fund required by ACE and the potential to trigger phase 2 of the development plans, which are currently in progress.To view the building development plans and to learn more about becoming a shared owner of thededicated live music hub, The Forum is hosting a series of drop-in events:

  • Wednesday 26th June – 6pm – 8pm
  • Tuesday 30th July – 6pm – 8pm
  • Tuesday 3rd September – 7pm – 9pm

To register your interest for any of the free open events, visit The Forum Music Studios in person or fill in the form on on site (available soon)