Theatre wins big grant

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Oh happy day... Gore and Districts St James Theatre Trust members Yvonne Bannerman and Doug Grant are grateful for a Lottery Community Facilities Fund grant of $300,000, which will go towards a $735,100 project to install a lift, undertake seismic strengthening and upgrade the women's toilets at the theatre. Photo: Sandy Eggleston

The SBS St James Theatre lift project fund has gone up another level with a $300,000 Lottery Community Facilities Fund grant.

Also included in the project to upgrade the theatre are seismic strengthening and upgrading the women’s toilets.

The grant means the total raised for the next stage of the development is $545,751. A further $189,349 is needed before the work can start.

The theatre is overseen by the Gore and Districts St James Theatre Trust, whose five trustees belong to various community groups.

Trustee Yvonne Bannerman said the trust had applied for $490,000 from the fund.

“The request aligned with Lottery Community Facilities Fund priorities, funding criteria and outcomes,” Mrs Bannerman said.

“However, there was substantial pressure on the funds available and the committee was not able to provide funding to the full level requested.”

In the letter confirming the grant application, the committee which allocated the money stated the fund had $9,475,440 to distribute and received 137 requests totalling $35,883,668 for the funding round, she said.

If the trust had received the full amount it sought, then the project definitely would have been able to go ahead as planned next year.

Even though “$300,000 is a lot of money, it just wasn’t quite enough”.

Despite the disappointment, “any money coming in is gratefully received to get this project completed, but we can’t start the project until we have all the funds in the bank”.

The trust still aimed to start the project sometime next year.

There was some urgency to find funding to make up the shortfall.

“Some of the funding will expire if the project doesn’t go ahead in a certain timeframe and there are inevitable risks of price increases.”