THE community is being urged to get behind a ‘popular and well-used’ theatre to help it fund a new heating system.

Staff at the Civic Arts Centre and Theatre in Oswaldtwistle have launched an online funding page to improve its heating facilities.

The existing system ‘can’t cope and struggles to manage’ with the demands of heating the building.

With winter approaching staff are hoping people in the area will help them raise the £4,000 quoted for the heating overhaul.

Gayle Knight, creative director at the Union Road venue, said: “Simply put the heating is dodgy, especially with winter approaching.

“It’s not going to last the distance. It’s just struggling, it needs replacing.

“Since we’ve came in we’ve really turned the centre around for the whole community.

“There’s so many things we’ve got going on for people young and old, we just could do with a bit of help.”

Since 2010 the building has been under community management via Hyndburn Arts Limited (HAL).

HAL is a charity that was set up by Ms Knight with a board of directors to manage the building and to develop arts in Hyndburn.

The money the civic raises from hosting classes, events and shows goes straight back into the centre and producing new activities.

That is why staff are hoping that people can make a contribution, however small, to help improve the heating at the venue.

On average around 1,000 people a week attend the venue for classes, activities and shows.

Ms Knight said: “We’ve got such a strong support in the community.

“If all our followers could even just donate £1 that would allow us to reach our target.

“It’s a big building and a lot of work needs doing. But the community has been so good to us so far.”

Councillors have also stressed the importance of the building to people across the borough.

Cllr Stewart Eaves, who represents Oswaldtwistle on Hyndburn Council, said: “It’s an absolutely fantastic venue for the community.

“They get some tremendous acts in these days as well as putting on their sessions.

“Gayle Knight does so much good work for the community and realistically this money should be raised.”

Fellow St Andrews Ward Cllr Peter Britcliffe echoed the importance of the building to the area, and said he will be asking the council to help support the campaign.

Cllr Britcliffe said: “It has become a major attraction in Hyndburn.

“Hopefully Hyndburn Council will be able to provide some funding to help them out.”

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