A major fundraising appeal has been launched to save the Leaf Hall Community Arts Centre from having to close.
Around £30,000 needs to be raised to fix the roof of the landmark building in Seaside and other essential repairs or it will have to shut down.
Trustees are now gearing up for the fundraising campaign called The Leaf Must Not Fall and are appealing to the local community to come forward and help in the hope of saving it in time for its 150th anniversary next year.
Trustee Terri Sayers-Cooper said, “The Leaf Hall Community Arts Centre is one of those buildings that’s a local landmark. Everyone knows it’s there. That’s because it is in fact the oldest public building in Eastbourne.
“But the Leaf Hall’s roof is desperately in need of replacing and such is the urgency that the building will have to close soon since the inside of the building is being affected with water coming through the beamed ceiling of the beautiful hall at the top of the stone stairwell.
“If the roof is not fixed, the ceiling will come down. So we are seeking help and support to the tune of £30,000 to fix the roof and the building’s future.”
The Leaf Hall, or the Workmen’s Hall as it was first known, was given to the local community by philanthropist William Leaf, who laid the foundation stone in 1863 which can still be seen on the side of the building.
His motto was The Leaf Must Not Fall, which the trustees have adopted as the appeal name.
“We want to involve Eastbourne and in particular the community surrounding the building, in saving and mapping out the future of the Leaf Hall,” said Terri. “We are seeking financial support though local business sponsorship, donations, various fundraising events as well as approaching trusts and foundations for financial help.
“We are also looking for practical help and donations in kind such as materials and scaffolding. Once the roof has been fixed the inside will also need to be refurbished and this is where local people and builders can also help.”
Visit www.leafhall.co.uk on how to donate.