by Harry Giles
The Forest, one of Edinburgh’s last remaining open-access multi-arts venues and a multi-award-winning Fringe venue (The Forest Fringe), has launched a renewed campaign to buy its current home in Bristo Place.
Recent developments have created the opportunity for the volunteer-run charity to buy its home of the last eight years.
The Forest is currently enjoying a very busy August and the Forest Fringe shows are attracting rave reviews from the Guardian, the Scotsman and other critics; it was recently described as “the saviour of the fringe.”
Last week, international recording artists Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley hosted a fundraising night at the Forest to help the campaign. Since then the volunteer-run arts centre and cafe has worked tirelessly to plan for the future and develop ways to raise money, all while serving customers with coffee, gorgeous vegetarian food and beer.
Ryan van Winkle, long-term Forest volunteer and Reader in Residence at the Scottish Poetry Library, said:
“We now have ten days to raise enough money to put down as a deposit for a mortgage to buy our current home. We have repeatedly expressed our interest in buying the Bristo Place premises to PricewaterhouseCooper (PwC) in the last few weeks, and we are lodging a formal note of interest later this week after talking to the banks and our advisers.”
Mr van Winkle has urged supporters to donate to the campaign to allow the charity to remain in its current home in order to ensure Edinburgh still has access to a free arts centre.
Mr van Winkle added:
“As I said last week, we will continue to discuss with PwC the possibility of renting the building on a short-term basis. Since the property initially went on the market, we have co-operated with EUS’s administrators and we will continue to do so.
” … In the meantime we will continue to plan for leaving our current home next week after a busy and fun August. The Forest Fringe’s shows are proving very popular and I think this is proving to be our best summer yet. Of course we plan to top that next year but we need your help to make sure we do it in Bristo Place.”
Supporters can donate money to the campaign through the JustGiving site (http://www.justgiving.com/theforest/Donate). The Forest will shortly launch its own WeFund.com account for those who want to pledge monetary support.