THE ambitious programme to transform the Milton Rooms in Malton into a “21st century community and arts venue” is to be boosted by £193,000 funding from Ryedale District Council.
The grant was confirmed at last Thursday’s meeting of the full council, prompting chairman of trustees Ray King to say: “We are grateful for what is the first major investment in the Milton Rooms, probably since it was built in the 1930s, and the money will be focused on key infrastructure areas that our local community and audiences have identified as being issues.”
Welcoming the kick-start funding, King says: “It will allow us to upgrade toilet areas, further address the access challenges that a building of this age presents and look at improving the overall fabric and technical facilities to prepare it for reopening after Covid restrictions are fully lifted.
“But, at the same time, the trustees recognise that this has to be regarded as simply the first in a new phase of investment to transform the building into a 21st century community and arts venue and we are constantly looking for additional funding from a range of sources.
“I believe this funding is also a recognition of the tremendous work that has been put in by the dedicated volunteers past and present, who have kept this iconic building open and available to all.’’
At an earlier meeting, on February 18, Ryedale District Council voted to ring-fence £307,000 in this year’s budget for the Milton Rooms to carry out further improvement work to bring it up to standard as a top-class venue for the 2020s.
The money will be released only for fully costed projects agreed by the Milton Rooms committee and the council and its officers.
King says: “While we are delighted to receive the £193,000, the hard work starts now in developing a business plan to access the further funds and so make the Milton Rooms an even more attractive venue for the community to use and enjoy.’’
Run as a charitable company, mainly by volunteers, the Milton Rooms has just had its Covid-safe accreditation extended for 2021 by British tourism body Visit Britain.
Venue manager Lisa Rich says: “We always welcome new volunteers to the team, particularly any with experience of the technical side of arts production and presentation, so please make contact by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, should you have a few spare hours.’’