A BLACKBURN arts group is edging closer to finding a new home ­— a month after a huge fire destroyed its building.

Officials from The Bureau Centre for the Arts say they are still ‘devastated’ after the blaze at the former St John the Evangelist Church building on Victoria Street on April 3.

Cath Ford, one of the centre’s directors, said: “It feels similar to having had a bereavement.

“We are working hard to keep going, but we are feeling a bit lost without a base we can run events from and mourning the loss of a building that was special for so many people.

“We loved the building, as did so many people who used it with us. Over the decades, we had been working hard to care for it for future generations."

Officials are saying they are working with their partners to ‘secure’ a new building and discussions are ‘almost there’.

The council-owned centre had a cafe, gallery, cinema and community use room, studios, community darkroom and a main space suitable for theatre, workshops, gatherings and events before the blaze which was started by an electrical fault.

The group is continuing to raise money and more than £7,500 has been donated so far.

They are now selling £2 postcards of the iconic landmark including a stained-glass window which was destroyed in the fire.

Cath added: “The support we have received in the aftermath of the fire has been astounding.

“In the first day or two, the donations and messages were what kept us going.

“We have received donations and offers of support from individuals and groups locally and nationally, including people we have never met and who had never heard of The Bureau before the fire. What’s really important to us now is that people continue to support us in the aftermath. We are not going away, but this will be a long journey and we will probably need their support even more than ever in the future.”

Meanwhile Blackburn Cathedral hosted the work of Italian artist Matilde Tomat which had due to be exhibited at the Bureau.

Cath says it is ‘heartbreaking’ to see the building as a shell.

She said: “St John’s is filled with memories for so many people and they have been sharing those with us since the fire, which has helped keep us going.”