Support our campaign to build a community stage in Beccles
- Credit: Nick Butcher
The Beccles and Bungay Journal is today launching a campaign to raise up to £60,000 to build a community stage at Beccles Quay - and we need your help.
Working in partnership with Beccles Community Arts - the committee behind the town's annual Harvest Moon Festival - we want to build a permanent home for talented performers of all ages and make Beccles Quay a top attraction for residents and tourists alike.
The stage, which has been designed with a boat theme to be in keeping with the quayside area, has already received the backing of Beccles mayor Caroline Topping along with Waveney District Council leader Colin Law and Suffolk County Council leader Mark Bee, who have pledged to do all they can to support the project.
But to help make this dream a reality, we need the help of readers, businesses and local organisations to come up with fundraising ideas, hold your own fundraising events or make a donation to the pot.
The idea is the brainchild of Jula Janney, Beccles Town Council clerk and chairman of Beccles Community Arts, to encourage local musicians, performers and groups to get more creative and show off their talents.
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Mrs Janney said: 'The young people of Beccles and the surrounding area have so much talent which needs to be seen and heard.
'The community stage will give them a much needed platform, helping them to experience playing outside and in front of a live audience and, maybe, in a small way, we can make their dreams come true.
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'This year is our big push to raise the money we need to finally build our community stage.'
Building the stage has been a dream for the Beccles Community Arts committee for the past seven years, but with a small team working around the clock on the festival, the idea has never got off the ground.
However with newly appointed editor Amy Smith joining the fundraising committee, The Beccles Community Stage Campaign has been launched to bring the project to life.
Miss Smith said: 'The community stage will bring a new lease of life to Beccles Quay and will be a great performance space not only for people from Beccles but for musicians and performers from Bungay, Halesworth, Loddon, Lowestoft, Norwich and all the villages in between.
'But it is not just performers who will benefit from it. The aim is also to bring more people into the town to visit our wonderful shops and restaurants and in such a stunning location by the river, Beccles is sure to be a top destination for tourists.
'I am proud to be launching the Beccles Community Stage Campaign, and really hope everyone will get behind this wondferul project.'
The 20ft by 20ft stage will have an extendable performance area and its own lighting system. It will be made from a steel structure covered with slats from recycled materials, and will be built in an area at the right hand corner of the quay, next to the car park.
The back of the stage will be towards the nearby houses, so the sound will go out to the road.
An artist's impression of the stage has now been drawn up and a planning application is due to be submitted to the Broads Authority in the next few months, who will make a decision on the plans.
As well as being used for events already held in the town like the Harvest Moon Festival, Beccles Carnival and Beccles Duck Race, the stage will also be available to hire.
Beccles mayor Caroline Topping said: 'There isn't enough for young people to do in Beccles and we've got lots of historical buildings for tourists to look at but there is not much else to keep them here.
'If people are arriving on their boats or driving past they will see the stage and hear the music and they will want to stop and stay.
'It is a community project and it incorporates everything Iwant to promote as mayor.'
As well as help with fundraising, Beccles Community Arts is also looking for new members to join the committee and will be holding its AGM on February 24 at Beccles Caxton Club at 7pm. Everyone is invited to attend. The committee would also love to hear from businesses who could sponsor the project, or anyone with ideas for events. For more details or to make a donation call Mrs Janney on 01502 712109 or visit Beccles Town Hall.
•Can you help with the Beccles Community Stage Campaign? Email email@example.com