Wingfield Barns gets �30,000 council loan

Council chiefs have agreed a �30,000 loan to help out a popular arts and conference venue in north Suffolk.

Wingfield Barns Community Interest Company (WBCIC), which runs Wingfield Barns, near Eye, asked Mid Suffolk District Council for the money.

The authority has now agreed to provide a �30,000 interest-free loan to the venue, which hosts art exhibitions, music events, performances, weddings and conferences. The money will be used to plug any deficit at the end of the financial year.

Lesley Jackson, general manager of Wingfield Barns, said: 'We always foresaw a shortfall at the end of this first financial year. We had reduced the deficit from �66,000 to around �30,000. That's with quite a significant safety net.

'We are just playing safe to ensure that we have funds to draw on if we need them. It's unlikely we will use it all.'


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WBCIC has set out a three-year business plan and is forecasting a profit of �16,064 in 2013/14. They have also been attracting external grant aid and sponsorship, as well as developing new events and partnerships.

Derrick Haley, portfolio holder for finance at Mid Suffolk District Council, said the impact of a venue like Wingfield Barns on the local economy and in supporting businesses, tourism, volunteering and jobs should not be under-estimated.

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'Wingfield Barns has made significant progress in closing the operating deficit since April 2011 and that is why Mid Suffolk's executive committee has agreed to a loan of �30,000 on the basis of lender of last resort,' he said.

'This would mean that we would cover any overdraft of up to this amount which would only be provided on a needs basis, following receipt of evidence to demonstrate the cash flow difficulties. One of the conditions for this loan is that we will be holding regular monitoring meetings with the management of Wingfield to review financial progress to ensure that they continue to progress with closing the annual deficit and are in a position to repay the loan in the future.'

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