Local music lovers are celebrating this week thanks to the signing of a momentous lease and funding agreement with Lancaster City Council that will secure the future of the city’s much-loved Music Co-operative (LMC).
Members of the Co-op’s steering committee, after years of tireless campaigning and fund- raising, signed the essential document on Monday morning.
Holly Blackwell, from the LMC said: “This is a totally momentous occasion for Lancaster Music Co-op and for future generations of musicians in the city.
We’ve been trying to get a long-term lease on the building for more than twenty years, so today we’re all absolutely joyous that finally we’ve secured the future of the Music Co-op for years to come.”
She added, “We’ve all worked so hard to bring this about and it just feels amazing to be able to finally start work on repairs to the building and getting it back up and running for all the bands and musicians across the Lancaster district and beyond, now and in the future.
We’ve still got lot of hard work ahead of us. But we’re up for it. Bring it on!”
Located on Lodge Street in the city since 1985, the Music Co-op has provided a safe, accessible and affordable space for musicians, from beginners to professionals, to rehearse and record. Sadly, over the years the heritage building deteriorated to the point where the cost of major structural repairs rendered the popular facility unusable and it was forced to temporarily close.
Councillor Nick Wilkinson, cabinet member with responsibility for regeneration, skills and digital innovation, said: “For over 30 years Lancaster Music Co-op has been a vital resource for the city’s musicians. The signing of the lease agreement has been a long time coming and helps to ensure the future of the Co-op, placing the organisation on a secure footing so it can continue to play its important role in our cultural offer.”
Lancaster Music Co-op is looking for a volunteer book keeper… During our repair programme we are looking for an experienced book keeper to monitor our accounts, send and receive invoices etc. The Music Co-op is run solely by volunteers. We need the right person to join our team and help us through a really important period in the Co-op’s history – the repair and renovation of our premises in Lodge Street.
Do you have the time to put something back into the community?
Perhaps you are retired and looking for a new challenge?
Then we need your help.
You don’t need to be a musician. Or know anything about music. You just need a solid background in accounts/book keeping and have a passion to be involved in securing the future of this important Lancaster musical institution.
The team at the Lancaster Musicians’ Co-operative are pleased to announce that they have appointed a Project Manager to oversee the refurbishment of the much-missed city centre facility.
Anthony Dickens, a qualified architect and project manager with many years’ experience in the UK and overseas, including working with historic buildings, has taken the reigns of the project thanks to funding secured from the Government’s Community Ownership Fund.
Jayne McFadyen, from the cooperative’s steering group says, “We were really encouraged by the impressive number of strong applications that we received for this post and after a thorough selection process we were delighted to offer the role to Anthony. His many years of experience working in this sector, coupled with a genuine enthusiasm for the local music scene made him the perfect candidate.”
She added, “We can’t wait to get working on the next phase of the Music Coop’s redevelopment with Anthony at the helm”.
The Lancaster Music Co-op have occupied 1 Lodge Street in the city since 1985, but over the years the building has deteriorated to the point where it needs major structural repairs. As a result, the Co-op had to move out and the building is temporarily closed.
In 2018 Lancaster City Council, owners of the building, passed a resolution which committed itself to undertaking repair work and to securing the Co-op’s future through a long-term lease but movement has been slow.
Anthony is keen to see rapid progress and is already busy making headway. He said,“I’m thrilled to be working on this important project. As a lover of live music and as a lifelong supporter of the local scene I, like many other Lancastrians, value the importance of the Music Co-op and what it provides for the wider community. I’m really excited to be joining the team that will bring this essential facility back to life”.