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Cash support for Midsteeple; Short-term funding in place for box office.

Byline: SHARON LIPTROTT

Dumfries' Midsteeple box office has been given a 10-month reprieve after two organisations stepped in to provide short-term funding.

The People's Project and The Crichton Trust are each going to contribute PS3,771 to run it until the end of March next year.

And work is also under way to try to find ways to secure its long-term future.

The council, which is meeting the final third of the cost, says the u-turn has come after listening to concerns over its plans to close the building in a bid to save cash.

Instead of selling tickets for events from the ground floor office, the council decided the service could move to a virtual box office, saving more than PS15,000 in staff costs.

Concerns were also raised over the impact on DG Voice and the Parents Inclusion Network charities which use offices on the second floor for free.

It prompted two petitions being raised in the town - which gathered more than 1,150 signatures between them.

Andy Ferguson, chairman of the council's communities committee, said: "Following discussions, we are now in a position to postpone our withdrawal from the Midsteeple to enable the community of Dumfries to work together to find a way to keep it open."

Gwilym Gibbons, chief executive of The Crichton Trust, said: "We very much welcome this decision by the council to allow breathing space while, with others, we consider a partnership solution to keeping the doors of this vital landmark building open."

The trust and The People's Project will now work with other groups within Dumfries to develop a community-based operation of the Midsteeple as a box office and other uses.

Mark Jardine of The People's Project said: "Although this is incredible news for the Midsteeple and the town centre, it is imperative that local people appreciate that this is merely a stop-gap measure, buying time to find a future for one of our most iconic buildings."

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Publication:Dumfries and Galloway Standard (Dumfriesshire, Scotland)
Date:Jun 21, 2019
Words:325
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