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Preston City Council confirms £150k loan to save The Ferret

Posted on - 12th March, 2023 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Business, Charities, Music, Preston Council, Preston News, University campus
Matt Fawbert
Matt Fawbert is the general manager at The Ferret

Preston City Council has confirmed it will loan £150k to the Music Venue Trust to help save The Ferret.

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The money will go to the Music Venue Trust’s Own Our Venues campaign, which launched as a crowdfunded project in May 2022 with the aim of taking control of the freeholds of nine premises.

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The Ferret came under threat when the owners of the Fylde Road building put it up for sale in early 2022.

Any potential sale was delayed when Preston City Council accepted the property on to Preston’s register of assets of community value for six months.

Read more: Bid to save The Ferret could see iconic Preston venue come into community ownership

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A combination of donations and grants has so far seen over £500,000 raised to save The Ferret.

The local #SaveTheFerret crowdfunder target was recently lowered from £150,000 to £45,000 due to the Music Venue Trust securing investment, grants and loans from elsewhere.

The fundraising deadline is 30 March with around £8,500 left to reach the goal.

The Ferret Pic: Cutting Edge
The Ferret Pic: Cutting Edge

Cllr Martin Rawlinson, Deputy Leader of Preston City Council, said: “Live music venues are an important part of our city centre arts scene and without independent venues like The Ferret, local bands would have nowhere to go to get the experience they need, playing in front of a live audience. 

“The Music Venue Trust have done a great job raising the profile of our struggling music venues across the UK. We felt that it was important that we did what we could to help support The Ferret’s campaign to raise the funds to purchase the building and stop it from being sold for commercial developmentWe wish the Music Venue Trust and The Ferret the best of luck in securing the funding they need.

“Having MVT as its new landlord would give the venue greater security and confidence in its future and allow the team to continue to invest in the city’s grassroots music scene.”

Read more: The Lathums sell out Preston Blitz

The Own Our Venues concept is built on the Community Share model that has been successful in saving and protecting local pubs, post offices and sports grounds.

On completion of purchase, The Ferret would be offered an immediate rent reduction and help to contribute to building repairs and insurance.

Matt Fawbert, general manager of The Ferret, said: “The biggest worry now, is that the property is in the hands of a private landlord, and they have put it up for sale.

“It just shows, you can fight through the pandemic and you can get through all sorts of problems but the landlord could take this away at any point by selling the building. 

“Help us save The Ferret, get involved now, let’s own our venues.”

To donate to The Ferret, visit the #SaveTheFerret Crowdfunder.

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