A crowdfund campaign countdown has begun as Budleigh Salterton gears up to buy the town’s former fire station in an online auction next month.
The town is being asked to dig deep and donate so there is enough in a fund to bid for the fire station when it goes to auction, with a guide price of £125,000, on Thursday, September 10.
The Budleigh Community Workshop Trust (BCWT), which hopes to secure at least £200,000 to buy the building, has raised £150,000 in donations and pledges, but needs to plug a £50,000 shortfall though crowdfunding.
The plan is to turn the former fire station into a community workshop where people can share and learn new skills, make friends, and permanently secure the building as an asset for the town, by putting in in trust.
BCWT has just under six weeks to raise the shortfall before online bidding begins.
The registered charity is working with the Budleigh Health and Wellbeing Hub and the local GP practice, with the shared aim of improving the vitality, health and wellbeing of the local community.
The community workshop would be an addition to the Budleigh Hub, in bringing people together, and will be run on similar lines to the Men’s Shed, and a repair shop.
The BCWT Crowdfunder states: “Specifically, BCWT plans to create a workshop and other recreational facilities for the community to enhance skills, confidence and inclusion.
“Volunteer-led activities will be made available to individuals who have need for such facilities by reason of their age, infirmity or disability, financial hardship or social circumstances, with the object of improving their conditions of life.
“Activities will initially focus on carpentry, wood turning and allied DIY, textile crafts and repair skills under the supervision of experienced practitioners and support volunteers.
“Our aspiration is to make the Community Workshop socially inclusive and diverse, focussing wherever the need is, so that young adults and older generations can develop skills and enjoy the social and creative opportunities the workshop will provide.
“The facility will be operated within strict health and safety guidelines and controls including disabled access.”
A group of volunteers local to Budleigh has worked for two-and-a-half years on plans for a town workshop and community space open for all.
The BCWT group said the Station Road spot of the former fire station was ‘ideally suited’ as a location for the project.
If BCWT is successful in its bid, the building would be held in trust as an asset for the Budleigh Salterton community.
The crowdfund campaign said BCWT had identified the former fire station as a ‘highly suitable premises’ for its purposes.
The online page states: “The building has a concrete ground floor ideal for machinery-based activities and an upstairs well-lit room suitable for craft activities, meetings and relaxation.
“It is estimated that total funding of £200,000 is required to purchase, refurbish, and to initially equip the building.
“BCWT has managed to raise, through donations and pledges, £150,000 but, clearly, we are short of our necessary target to be able to compete at the auction in September.”
The appeal says: “Please be generous and donate whatever you can so that we succeed in this outstanding opportunity to acquire a brilliant asset for the community and from which the whole community can benefit.
“It will be fantastic with your help.”
The town’s fire station was closed earlier in 2020 by Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, as part of its cost-cutting Safer Together consultation.
The fire service has instructed the sale of the building through an online auction, being held on September 10.
To donate to the BCWT Crowdfunder campaign, see here.
To donate another way, or help with the fundraising campaign, contact BCWT chairman Bill McDermott by email, firstname.lastname@example.org
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