Youngsters in campaign to save Preston’s Guild Hall

Campaign: Youngsters at Kidz 4 Kidz with their banners at the Guild Hall
Campaign: Youngsters at Kidz 4 Kidz with their banners at the Guild Hall
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Youngsters involved in a city theatre group have launched a campaign to save Preston’s Guild Hall.

The future of the city centre venue is under threat, but members of Kidz 4 Kidz are determined to support any attempt to save it.

The community theatre group rehearses and performs at the Charter Theatre, and the founder said children were “devastated” at the prospect of its closure.

Cathy Thompson-Evans, who started the group in 2001, said they now had a cast of 52, from age four to 16.

She said: “We want to try and get the community working to find solutions.

“Kidz 4 Kidz is non-profit, we are all volunteers - it’s just to get the kids off the street.

“The problem we’ve got, because we’ve not got a lot of volunteers, on a Sunday we put them into big groups and teach them all at once.

“If they are in groups of 20 plus or 50 plus, there’s no space they can fit apart from the Charter Theatre.”

She said if the group lost their venue, they may be forced to cut the numbers or even close down.

Cathy said: “I understand we can’t keep the Guild Hall open if it is making a loss, so the question is what can we do to make more money to keep it open.

“We want to help find a solution and we want them to know we are bothered enough that we will find a solution to make it happen.”

The Guild Hall costs the city about £1m a year, and about half of that is set to be removed in March 2015, throwing its future into doubt.

Cabinet member for resources, Coun Martyn Rawlinson, said: “I’m really glad that a group like Kidz 4 Kidz is taking an interest because they are a fantastic group.

“It would be a tragedy if we lost the venue for things like that, but we are doing absolutely everything we can to avoid that.”