Preston City Council supports Music Venue Trust’s ‘Own Our Venues’ scheme with loan

Featured image credit: Edward Cisneros on Unsplash

Music Venue Trust (MVT) has received a boost to its fundraising campaign from Preston City Council, in a bid to save grassroots music venue The Ferret. 

The council has provided a £150,000 (€170,000/$180,000) loan to MVT’s ‘Own Our Venues’ campaign, with the fundraiser set to close on March 30. The charity is calling on other councils to follow suit and invest in the scheme.

‘Own Our Venues’ is a scheme where MVT’s Charitable Community Benefit Society (CCBS) Music Venue Properties (MVP) owns the freehold of grassroots music venues. MVP will then lease the properties back to operators with reduced rents and help for insurance or repairs.

The Ferret in Preston, a venue which has hosted the likes of Ed Sheeran, Alt-J, Royal Blood and more, is one of the venues highlighted in the scheme.

Councillor 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 development. We 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.”

Matthew Otridge, ownership coordinator at MVT, added: “We are delighted that Preston City Council are supporting our efforts to save The Ferret and move it into community ownership.

“Like The Ferret, the grassroots music venues we are looking to purchase at this stage are at the forefront of the live music provision in their towns and cities – in fact, some are the only remaining live music venues. It is therefore imperative that other local councils follow PCC’s lead and support this campaign in recognition of these vital cultural and community hubs. We must own our venues.”