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Grant from the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal UK

Media Release
18 August 2014

Grant from the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal UK

The Arts Centre of Christchurch was recently the recipient of a generous contribution from the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal UK in London.

The Christchurch Earthquake Appeal UK (“the UK Appeal”) donated $50,000 towards the restoration of the former Christchurch Boys’ High Gymnasium building.

The UK Appeal is a British charity dedicated to fundraising in the UK and allocating those funds to earthquake recovery initiatives in Canterbury. It was established shortly after the February 2011 earthquakes by the New Zealand High Commissioner in London together with expatriate New Zealanders living in the UK. Individuals and corporations have been very generous with their support, and funds have also been raised at a number of creative and lively fundraising events.

One of the UK Appeal's key grant making policies has been to consider funding requests which maximise the potential to preserve the heritage of Canterbury and provide opportunities for people to participate in arts and cultural activities.

On a visit earlier in the year, the Trustees of the charity were impressed with the progress of the rebuild and restoration of the entire Arts Centre site, and the high standard of the work being carried out.

In particular, the design and fit out plans for the Gymnasium were considered to be of a high standard, ensuring that the building would provide an enduring benefit for the people of Canterbury.

“We view this as an important project for the community,” stated Eric Tracey, a Trustee with the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal UK, “as it assists with local pride and provides a venue to show Christchurch at its best. Donors and the New Zealand expatriate community in the UK should be proud to see the practical results of their generosity.”

The Free Theatre and the Arts Circus are the new tenants of the Gymnasium, and have signed a two year lease. These exciting tenants will bring a fresh burst of life to the Arts Centre in the city centre.

Arts Centre Chief Executive André Lovatt is grateful to the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal UK for their keen interest and support. “The funding has helped ensure that the Gymnasium be restored to reveal many beautiful features that have been hidden for many years, including a magnificent lantern roof and native wood flooring.”

The Gymnasium was first opened in 1908, and was built in Gothic Revival style to complement the Christchurch Boys’ High building next door. When the University of Canterbury relocated to Ilam in the 1970s, the Gymnasium was converted.

The work has just been completed on the Gymnasium, and a public Open Day was held on July 27th to reveal the restored building and new soaring glass canopy providing a covered courtyard area outside.

- ends -

The Arts Centre of Christchurch is an iconic collection of 23 heritage buildings constructed in the Gothic Revival style.

For over a century, the site was home to Canterbury College, and then the University of Canterbury. Since 1978, the site has been held in Trust for the benefit of the people of Canterbury as a place where arts, culture and education are fostered, promoted and celebrated.

The Arts Centre’s buildings suffered extensive damage in the 2010-11 Canterbury earthquakes, and today, all but one building on the site is closed to enable an extensive seven-year, $290 million restoration programme. During this period of restoration, there will be a phased re-opening of the site.

The Arts Centre continues to receive generous support from the community, including donations in 2013 from:

K Brown & M Wilson

Christchurch City Council

Culverden Christmas Country Fete

Estate of EA Flint

Hilti NZ Limited

Scott McCrea

Mike Henry Insurance Brokers

NZ Post

Serious Fun Sports Events

Simpson Grierson

The Agency Communications Limited

Dr T Shailer Weston


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