Challenging future for Drill Hall after funding cuts

Funding cuts may mean a challenging future for Lincoln’s Drill Hall, but chief executive Chris Kirkwood is upbeat about what lies ahead.

The venue on Free School Lane, which seats 365 people, receives an annual grant from the City of Lincoln Council, which in 2013 stood at around £275k.

The figure was due to go up by inflationary amounts each year, but by 2018 the funding is now down to £216k.

However, this is due to the council’s budget being slashed and Chris Kirkwood told The Lincolnite that the council is still “incredibly supportive” to the venue which reopened in 2004.

Chris said: “The reality is that since 2013 the venue has already absorbed in real terms close to £300,000 in reductions and by 2021 the grant will be half what was originally expected when we became an independent charity.

“It’s fantastic that even in these incredibly challenging financial times that they are committed to us and our work, but the upshot is that we are facing the prospect of having to find approximately an additional £140,000 every year on top of what we already fundraise and earn through ticket sales to ensure the future of our unique offer to the city.

“We are working incredibly hard to bridge that gap – looking at new partnerships that might open new income streams, with other stakeholders and the business community.”

He added: “My trustees and I are really confident that we can ensure a sustainable future for the organisation and are actively pursuing a number of avenues that we believe will help to secure this organisation for the benefit of everyone in our city.”

Lincoln Drill Hall. Photo: Connor Creaghan

Upcoming events

The auditorium is currently undergoing general annual maintenance and the next event set to take place is a wedding on August 21.

The next performance is a local community group doing a Steampunk version of the Shakespeare classic retitled as ‘A Midsummer Night’s Steam’ on August 24 and 26, with an RAF Cadet Choir performing on August 25.

Discussions are also ongoing about a potential future project that will see the venue taking arts out into the community.