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New Friends group officially formed to support popular Morecambe music venue

The Platform in Morecambe

A new Friends group has been officially formed to support a much-loved live music venue in Morecambe.

The new Friends of the Platform will meet for the first time on Wednesday May 15 after being formally set up last month.

The group aims to promote and help the Platform by creating a volunteer force which can raise funds, help with day to day operations, promote events and generally guarantee its future operating success, by working closely with Lancaster City Council and its team who run the venue.

The group was set up after fears in 2023 that the council might pull out of running the Platform and the venue could be closed. The council did a U-turn on the plans after a campaign by residents and supporters of the Platform.

Led by resident Sue Saunders, a petition was created, and such was the strength of feeling and emotion locally, it quickly gathered more than 8,000 signatures demanding for the Platform to be reprieved.

Sue spoke passionately to a full council meeting in November 2023 about how important the venue is to the tourism, community and future of Morecambe – especially with the imminent plans to start work on the town's new Eden Project Morecambe attraction – and was given a standing ovation.

The council had planned to withdraw from operating the former railway station-turned arts centre from March 31 2024.

They had been in talks with three un-named third-party operators but in November, announced their intention to keep the Platform in-house, and look for ways to reduce a £150,000 a year loss to a break-even point.

It was felt that a new Friends group would greatly help with this.

During the early part of 2024, people who had registered their support to the campaign to keep the Platform open attended two meetings to discuss if a Friends group were possible.

In April David Morgan was elected as the first chair, Sue Saunders as honorary secretary and Roger Cleet as treasurer.

“This a fantastic opportunity for the Friends of the Platform Morecambe to guarantee that the Platform remains a key venue within Morecambe and is an integral part of its future success," said Mr Morgan.

“The Platform is not only a fantastic theatre, for visitors and locals alike to enjoy, but also plays a key role for the community supporting local music arts and crafts, as well as being a central focus for such events as Vintage by the Sea and Steampunk.”

Our picture below shows crowds outside The Platform during the 2023 Vintage by the Sea festival

Sue Saunders said: “It was a great relief to get a reversal of the council’s closure threat for the Platform. Thank you to everyone who signed and supported the petition.

“Now we need to move forward and secure its future sustainability and I would urge everyone to get onboard and support this unique and iconic venue by joining The Friends of The Platform Morecambe.”

Roger Cleet, who is also a Lancaster city councillor, said: "During the May 2023 local elections, the Morecambe community were frustrated by the mothballing of the Platform along with the Morecambe Town Council Frontierland Tax.

“It is excellent news that Lancaster City Council have given the Platform a new lease of life. I am also a trustee and treasurer for Heysham Community Preschool, which is also a registered charity, and I have experience in sourcing and applying for grants from external grant funders.”

The first meeting of the new Friends of the Platform will be held at 6.15 pm on May 15 at The Platform, Old Station Buildings, Marine Road West, Morecambe, LA4 4DB.

Everyone who has an interest is welcome to attend.

The Friends of the Platform Morecambe is charity with registration at the Charity Commission pending.

Last week Councillor Catherine Potter, cabinet member for the visitor economy at Lancaster City Council, said the Platform was on track to break even within two years - after previously running at a substantial loss.

Read more: Morecambe music venue on track for 'magic break-even figure' just months after closure U-turn - Beyond Radio

Read more: First meeting announced for talks on new 'Friends' group for Morecambe concert venue - Beyond Radio

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