A COMMUNITY venue that has become a hub for the arts in Darlington has appealed for more volunteers to come forward to help secure its future.
The Bridge Centre for Visual Arts, in Yarm Road, became the base for dozens of creative groups after they were made homeless by the closure of the town’s Arts Centre in 2012.
A number of volunteers took up the role of running the venue, ensuring the thriving arts scene in Darlington continued.
However, that initial commitment has started to wane putting the future of the venue at risk, according to Bonnie Davies, project manager at Openart Studio, which is based at the centre and uses art to improve mental health and wellbeing.
In an email sent to centre users, she initially cast doubt over whether the venue could survive the next few years.
But speaking to The Northern Echo she reassured users the centre is not at risk of closure, but in need of more volunteers to help with its day-to-day running and to help attract new and varied artists to the venue.
She said: “We started off with lots of volunteers, but life gets in the way. I would like people to realise I can’t do it all myself.
“It is something I had hoped would be community-led, which I am sure it is, it just that it needs more events.
“I would like to see it impact more in the community.”
She also appealed for more suggestions for future events that could be held at the venue, including new exhibitions, and possible fundraising ideas.
The building itself is owned by Darlington Borough Council, which also provides support for the Openart Studio.
A council spokeswoman said: “The future of The Bridge Centre for Visual Arts is not at risk. The council is committed to supporting the centre and has no intention to withdraw that support.
“Volunteers who provide activities and courses, along with service users who access the course and activities are the backbone of the centre and are much appreciated.
"However, to ensure the range of activities on offer are varied and plentiful we need more volunteers.”
Anyone who would like to volunteer can call Ms Davies on 01325-244174.
For more information visit thebridgedarlington.org.uk