Chairman’s Update 17th August

17 Aug, 2020

Hello all,

At a recent Trustees meeting it was decided that the Barlow Institute Charity will not, for the foreseeable future, pursue its interest in securing a Public Works Loan from Blackburn with Darwen, in order to finance a new roof on the Barlow building. The reason for this is very much Community based, we as a community are slowly coming out of Lockdown into a new normal that none of us can accurately define and we are also heading into a potentially long and deep worldwide financial recession and the Trustees feel that this is the wrong time for the Barlow to be imposing any further burden of taxation on members of our community. This does not mean we are abandoning our plans to replace the roof on the building, quite the opposite, as after our overall duty to support the Community, our number 1 priority is to get the building into a state where it is safe and watertight and to get there we are determined to find another way. Work is close to fruition on creating a specification that will pass BwD planning and can be sent out to contractors for proposals, once we have clear and fixed costings for the job we will dig deep into our coffers and find a way to fund it, this will curtail our ability to match fund into the near future but all other works can wait once we have a safe and watertight building.

2020 has been a strange year in many ways but we have been able to fix the crumbling car park, new boilers being installed are imminent, the front fascia of the building will have new double glazed windows hopefully by winter, we have managed to sustain dozens of families within our community with snacks and meals, hundreds of shopping and pharmacy trips have been made by volunteers for folk isolating or shielding, we’ve supported the Cricket Club in creating a wonderful new scoreboard/film screen, we have plans in at BwD for a fantastic new multi-use games arena, and plans are afoot to refurbish the playground area with new and upgraded equipment ……… yes, it’s been a strange year!

A massive effort from so many people over so little time, thank you all!

Mike Fay


Blackburn with Darwen Council handed over the running and upkeep of The Barlow to the community in 2013. Since then The Barlow Charity has relied upon the generosity of benefactors and income from users of the facilities, plus the efforts of volunteers to sustain this much valued community facility. Significant improvements have been carried out to help ensure a long-term future, including a new roof, replacement windows, new hygienic worktops in the coffee shop kitchen and a new hot water & heating system. Most recently (summer 2022) the renovation of the outdoor veranda has been completed and a new adjacent decking area has been installed. In addition the snooker room has been restored to its former splendour by a small group of volunteers.

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An important source of funding that has contributed to the above mentioned improvements is The Friends of the Barlow scheme.  By becoming a Friend you can contribute to a fund that is used for repairs and renovations to the structural fabric of the building and pathways etc, and to upgrade, refresh and improve facilities e.g. now that the building is once again weathertight there are plans being drawn up for the main hall can be deep-cleaned, re-decorated and refurbished and other water-damaged areas such as the main stairway & its beautiful large, stained glass window to also be restored to their former glory.

As a Friend of The Barlow, your regular donations provide a much appreciated, steady income stream that to date (summer 2022) has raised in the region of over £40,000, which has been mostly used contributing towards paying for the roof, windows and heating system.
We intend to soon publish the overall list of improvements/tasks and from that you will see that there is a significant amount of expenditure still needed to achieve all of the identified tasks and improvements. We would welcome donations/sponsorship for specific items that may be of particular interest to individuals or families or groups, but the regular donations by Friends of The Barlow are also crucial. Therefore, we welcome any and all new donors and are grateful for whatever amount you choose to donate.

We are of course also very grateful to all of our existing Friends of The Barlow and if you are able to increase your monthly donation by any amount, that would be hugely appreciated – you can either make the increase to your standing order directly with your bank or you can complete a new form and send it to your bank or give it to us to process.

Please also consider increasing the value of your donation at no extra cost to you by using Gift Aid – as an example, an £8 donation from you becomes £10 with the Gift Aid add-on!

If you wish to donate please click on the link below, complete the form and either send it to your bank with an email copy to our email address  or return the completed form to the Barlow’s office in a sealed envelope addressed to Friends of The Barlow.  Paper copies of the form are available from The Barlow.

For any further information please email or contact the office via or 01204 852216.

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