A loan from Charity Bank helped to secure Fairycroft House’s future as a community centre that encourages and develops creativity. Tim Atkinson, Founder and Managing Director of Fairycroft House CIC, tells us the story.
“Fairycroft House holds a special place in the heart of the Saffron Walden community. An old Regency building that had been used as a youth centre since the early-1950s, it has long been a big part of the community landscape. In 2014, we took it over as the Fairycroft House CIC (Community Interest Company) and began to develop it into a fully self-sustaining organisation.
“Being a professional musician, it seemed only natural for me to concentrate on the performing arts and so “The Arts & Media Centre” was born: a hub not only for the youth of the community but for adults of all ages to get involved with music, drama, dance and other creative endeavours.
“When it no longer became viable for Essex County Council to lease the building, a local campaign to make sure it wouldn’t be sold for development and would remain in community use resulted in a petition of over 3,000 signatures. This raised awareness of the work we do here at Fairycroft House and helped us to register the building as a ‘Community Asset’.
“This was a fantastic first achievement as it meant we had the possibility of purchasing the property. Next, we needed to secure a mortgage; and that wasn’t going to be straightforward, or so we thought. We were put in touch with Charity Bank through Can Do Communities and, right from the very start, they were fantastic. The whole time it felt as though they were working with us, really rooting for us to succeed and doing everything they could to help make that happen. In August last year, the Community Asset transfer was completed and the future of Fairycroft House was secured.
“Now we can truly plan for growth and development. We have small, local businesses renting office space in the building and rooms are available to hire for a whole range of community activities, giving Fairycroft House a very significant role in the local area. Our next big project will be the redevelopment of the main hall, creating a performance space to act as a much-needed platform for young local musicians.”
"The whole time it felt as though Charity Bank were working with us, really rooting for us to succeed and doing everything they could to help make that happen."Tim Atkinson, Founder and Managing Director of Fairycroft House CIC