Opportunity to assist The Barlow

27 Aug, 2019

There have been exciting developments at The Barlow and we want to keep you in the loop.

As you may be aware, there has been a shared desire to hand the reins of the ‘day to day’ running of the Barlow back to those people who give their time and effort at a grass roots level;  the Volunteers.  This has been warmly supported by the Trustees and I’m happy to report that this transition has begun.

It was agreed that the best way to do this would be to create a team of enthusiastic volunteers who would act as a conduit between the existing Volunteer Teams and the Trustees. Following a recent open election, we now have a group of 7 on the Interim Management Team (IMT).  It is considered ‘Interim’ because we realise that the role may evolve over time and it will be reviewed at the end of the year.

The current members of the team are:

Nigel Truswell  (Chair), Andrew Waller, Chris Ryan, Sara Lobley, Phillip Grundy, Diane Radcliffe, Heather Abela

Even better news, the Volunteer Teams now have full responsibility for their own areas of expertise.  The one current exception is the Reading Room which is critically important to the success of The Barlow and needs careful and time-consuming management and the transition will take longer.

We have also identified several strategic and routinely important areas that are crucial to the long-term future of The Barlow.  A lot of work is already ongoing, and we intend to build on that by setting up Working Groups made up of Trustees, Volunteers and other interested parties to focus on these:

  • Policy and Planning – Establish a long term business/development plan for The Barlow
  • Funding and Development – Progress existing external bids and research new funding and development opportunities
  • Finance – Establish finance plans, budgets and targets
  • Estate Management with Health and Safety – Draw up an Estate Management Plan

If you are interested in supporting or being involved in any of these Working Groups, we would be delighted to hear from you by emailing:-  nigel@thebarlow.co.uk.  Please spread the word.

 Similarly, if you have any questions or comments then please do send them through to the same address.  We will do everything we can to answer them, but as we’re sure you will appreciate, it is still early days.  We promise to keep you updated as things progress.

Thank you for your time and we look forward to seeing you at The Barlow soon,

Nigel Truswell

IMT Chairman – on behalf of the IMT.


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 fotb@thebarlow.co.uk  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 fotb@thebarlow.co.uk or contact the office via info@thebarlow.co.uk or 01204 852216.

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