Taking a long-term view for sustainable arts outcomes

The Friends of St Brigid’s Association (FOSB) was founded in 2006 when the community bought the old church and hall in Crossley. They have a long-term vision to create the St Brigid's Australian Irish Cultural, Community and Heritage Centre, and along the way, create opportunities and maintain a venue to celebrate the diverse arts and culture in the region.

Julie Millowick Images Photo by Julie Millowick

The FOSB has around 200 members, with 40 active volunteers who have worked hard to save and maintain the much-loved old church and hall.

They do this because they strongly believe these facilities are vital to a connected and healthy community. The Hall is used approximately 140 times a year by a wide range of groups, including Irish dancing, music performances and language classes.

Each year, this community of around 2,000 people hosts the St Brigid's musicians' retreat every Easter, which attracts lots of visitors and supports the local economy.

Over the years, FRRR has supported the local community with several grants via its Culture, Arts, Tourism and Community Heritage (CATCH) program to improve the facilities at the Hall. This has allowed them to purchase a lighting and PA system for the stage, install split-system air conditioners, and replace damaged lining boards, repaint and install blinds to protect from the afternoon sun.

These improvements help to ensure patronage all year round and enable everyone in the community to feel connected to the cultural opportunities in their local area.

An FRRR Not-For-Profit Fundraising Account is helping them raise the additional funds needed to achieve their vision for the Centre.

The FOSB has been invited to participate in the Art Resides Here project because of their dedication to maintaining a venue that supports local arts and cultural events. They will share their experiences at the Artlands Victoria in Bendigo and Castlemaine in October 2018.

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