The Forest has launched a campaign to buy its current home in Bristo Place. The fundraising follows last week’s news that the sale of the premises has collapsed. The Forest has sought to find a permanent home since Edinburgh University Settlement was declared bankrupt last year. Recent developments have created the opportunity for Edinburgh’s open-access multi-arts venue to buy its home of the last eight years.
Ryan van Winkle, long-term Forest volunteer and Reader in Residence at
the Scottish Poetry Library, said:
We now have ten days to raise enough money to put down as a deposit for a mortgage to buy our current home. We have expressed our interest in buying the Bristo Place premises to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) three times in the last few weeks. We are lodging a formal note of interest later this week after talking to the banks and our advisers. However, in the meantime we need all out friends to donate money or pledges to our campaign to stay in our current home. If you don’t support us now then you will see the end of the Forest as we know it. We have spent the last three months exploring other options, viewing properties and holding discussions with various landlords. Throughout this whole process we have yet to see a more suitable building than Bristo Place. I ask that if you care about the Forest and want to make sure Edinburgh still has access to a free arts centre, give us your money. Stay tuned as we’re developing some interesting and different rewards for those who donate to the campaign, all of which will reflect the Forest’s ethos and the range of arts/entertainment/facilities we offer the Edinburgh public.
The Forest is currently enjoying a very busy August and the Forest Fringe shows are attracting rave reviews from the Guardian, the Scotsman and other critics. The Forest is a flag-ship Scottish social enterprise and charity within Edinburgh and was recently described as “the saviour of the fringe.” On Thursday night, international recording artists Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley hosted a fundraising night at the Forest to help the campaign. Since then the volunteer-run arts centre and café has worked tirelessly to plan for the future and develop ways to raise money, all while serving customers with coffee, gorgeous vegetarian food and beer.
Mr van Winkle added:
As I said last week, we will continue to discuss with PwC the possibility of renting the building on a short-term basis. Since the property initially went on the market, we have co-operated with EUS’s administrators and we will continue to do so. After all, the Forest staying in Bristo Place and paying rent makes sense for both parties – we continue to trade and show people the extent of what we offer while the creditors receive revenue. In the meantime we will continue to plan for leaving our current home next week after a busy and fun August. The Forest Fringe’s shows are proving very popular and I think this is proving to be our best Summer yet. Of course we plan to top that next year but we need your help to make sure we do it in Bristo Place.
You can donate money to the campaign through the JustGiving site (http://www.justgiving.com/theforest/Donate). The Forest will shortly launch its own WeFund.com account for those who want to pledge monetary support.
The Forest is one of Edinburgh’s last remaining open-access multi-arts venues, and has become a multi-award-winning Fringe venue (The Forest Fringe). The volunteer-run charity operates an art gallery, theatre, performance and rehearsal spaces, a darkroom, a publishing house, a swap shop, a record label, a hairdresser and a thriving vegetarian café. A detailed press pack about the Forest’s work is available online (http://www.theforest.org.uk/forestpresspack.pdf).
The Forest has successfully raised over £32,000 to secure its future since October, when Edinburgh University Settlement (EUS), who owned 3 Bristo Place, were declared bankrupt and forced into administration. Previous publicity and information about the campaign to help ensure the Forest’s future is also on the website (http://blog.theforest.org.uk/savetheforest).
The Forest Fringe’s full programme is available on their website (http://www.forestfringe.co.uk/festivals/edinburgh-festival-2011/).
For the latest updates from the Forest, or to get involved, visit the organisation’s web site at http://www.theforest.org.uk/ or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Forest, 3 Bristo Place, Edinburgh
Fundraising Officer/Media Contact