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Bourne Arts & Community Trust

The Beginning

On 23rd April, 1997, a public meeting was held at Burghley Arms, Bourne, to discuss the possibility of using Wake House as an arts and community centre.  2000 people from the area had signed a petition in support of its development as a centre which would be run for the benefit of the residents of Bourne and the surrounding villages.  An extremely enthusiastic group of people gathered in the pub that night to show their support for this proposal.  The Wake House Steering Committee was established as a direct result and the campaign to take over Wake House was under way.


Achieving the goal

Following its use as a family home, Wake House had been used as offices by SKDC and its predecessor, South Kesteven Rural District Council from 1974 until 1996.  After 1996, the building was unused and fell into considerable disrepair.  Floor and roof repairs were needed, as well as re-wiring, plumbing, decorating and general restoration in order to make the building safe and usable. 

Plans were drawn up for the Community Centre.  It was originally envisaged that various groups would benefit from the centre including:-

A centre for graphic arts – arts clubs, art exhibitions, photographic facilities and displays

Performing arts - rehearsal facilities, meeting rooms, dancing

Tourist Information centre

Conference and meeting venue

Crèche and school holiday activity centre

Business workshops

Information Technology – computer facilities, reference and research, internet access  -  Stamford College would provide easy access (12 hours per day) for all users to a computer suite

Social Education Centre - to run a coffee shop

The driving force behind this scheme was Jean Joyce, who lived in Edenham, and who had been an active SKDC Councillor for the Bourne area for several years.  Jean worked tirelessly to improve facilities for all the residents of Bourne and its neighbouring villages, and her enthusiasm for the redevelopment of Wake House was key to its eventual success.  However, success was not immediate, as the project was seriously threatened when it became known that two groups were interested in buying the building for commercial use.   

BACT faced the challenge of raising thousands of pounds in order to renovate Wake House to meet the requirements of the clubs and organisations which would use it.   Local tradesmen e.g, plasterers, roofers, electricians, plumbers and decorators were asked to offer their services, as well as financial donations being sought to support the project.  All those who pledged their support were included in a roll of honour together with the opportunity to have their photo in the Bourne Local newspaper when work was under way.  The roll of honour contained the names of local businesses, individuals, and the local MP. An appeal hotline was established for all who wanted to be involved.

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Race Night

At the end of October, 1999, an auction was held – which included items signed by Posh Spice and David Beckham – raising a total of £2,200 to go towards the restoration project.  Another of the more than 100 items which was auctioned off was an England football training shirt signed and donated by a Manchester United team member.  Linda Nightingale, who was the fundraising and public relations co-ordinator for BACT, thanked all who attended the auction, adding that she was delighted that the target of £2,000 had been reached.  Other events held to raise money included a Charity Race Night, a stall at Christmas to sell mince pies and other baked goods, and a Wake House Christmas draw. 


Bourne Arts and Community Trust (BACT) legally began on 21st April, 1999, and following all the enthusiastic fundraising, Councillor Joyce received the keys to Wake House from Chris Farmer, Chief Executive of SKDC, at the end of October. 1999. 


Chris Farmer, chief executive of SKDC presents Coun Jean Joyce with the keys.


Several of the original aims of BACT listed earlier have been successfully addressed over the 25 years since 21st April, 1999:- Art exhibitions, art classes, dance classes, use as a conference/meeting venue, use by various businesses, a centre where IT is taught, and a coffee shop open to the public.  In addition, a variety of educational classes have been held at Wake House.  Jean and her colleagues would, no doubt, be delighted with BACT’S wide ranging provision and excited by the prospect of the next 25 years. 

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