Campaigner heartened by response over bid to save Ludlow art studio

A campaigner who is battling to save a much loved Ludlow art studio says he has been given an extra impetus by the response he has received so far.

Ben Parker wants to save the Loudwater Studio in Ludlow
Ben Parker wants to save the Loudwater Studio in Ludlow

Vision Homes Association has decided to call it a day at the The Loudwater Studio, in Bromfield Road, saying it needs to concentrate the charity's finances on its core care services.

"We have no choice but to accept that position," said Ben Parker, who is leading efforts to try to keep a studio in the venue. "But we are trying to get together to put heads together."

One option that has been raised is the possibility of creating a new community interest company and using the venue. But they have so far been unable to talk to the landlord of the building.

In the meantime, a petition set up by Mr Parker, who lives near Craven Arms, has around 400 signatures and he has been heartened by the response to that and his Facebook page.

"The response has been amazing," said Mr Parker, who has an extremely rare muscular genetic disorder called pompe disease, which affects every aspect of his life. He uses the ceramic studio on Tuesdays.

"It is so heartwarming that people care and it gives me an extra impetus to keep going."

The studio is used by all members of the community but it is accessible. And users like Mr Parker fear they would have to travel many miles to find similar facilities.

But the current owners, Vision Homes Association, says it has not recovered from the pandemic and from devastating floods which left it needing nearly £30,000 to keep going. They say they need to spend the money on their care services.

Alison Beachim, the chief executive of Vision Homes Association, said the decision to close was a taken with regret.

"After a series of setbacks, the studio continues to lose money; the income received does not cover the costs of running the service," she said.

"In more recent years in addition to an ongoing deficit, a flood destroyed the facility and Covid has subjected the service to closures and seen a reduction of people attending."

She said paying for the studio would divert resources from the charity's care services at a time of rising costs.

"Vision Homes cannot continue to sustain the studio and the ongoing levels or investment needed... at a risk to the charity and its care services," she added. The venue is due to close at the end of this month.

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