'Music family' search for a new community centre in Northampton after losing home to flat development

The boss of a musical wellbeing charity is appealing for help trying to find a new centre after losing their beloved 10-year home in The Mounts.

Wednesday, 9th October 2019, 1:01 pm
More than 30 volunteers turned out to talk to the Chronicle & Echo about their plea to find a new home to carry on with their crucial work.

On September 30, Janan Fifield, of The Performing Room, and his musicians, each hung up their microphones for the last time after their building lease expired – to be made into flats.The building was purpose designed to inspire the next generation of musicians who want to build on their confidence, make new friends and find an alternative to mainstream education.

Some of its members have even released their own EPs which have been sold at the Rocking Roadrunner performance in Abington Park to raise vital funds to reinvest into the voluntary group.

Boss Janan made a home for himself in Northampton in 2009 and started his musical and disability inclusion projects in 2012 after renovating their building Overstone Road.

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Janan turned his former building into a sensory experience for his members to relax and lean their music. This was the lounge area.

In 2014 the group recieved four years of funds from the People's Health Trust with some additional local funds from the Northamptonshire Community Foundation.

This delivered 11,000 hours of activities for up to 300 people who were leaving care, who suffer with their mental health, have a disability, or are a part of the homeless community. Janan said: “The idea is for them to drop their armour and freely express themselves without being judged, in a safe and fun environment.“We want to see if there is someone, somewhere in a town centre location who has got a space they want to give up so we can recreate what we have done in order for us to continue what we are doing. After all of this work, I’ve got nothing to show for this other than an empty building.

"We should consider affluent community spaces at this critical time and share a collective, social responsibility to ensure community spaces survive and thrive."More than 60 people a day, from 40 local services, access projects at The Performing Room, which include musical activities, IT, photography, production and radio broadcasting – just to name a few.The upstairs had been kitted out with a sound booth, two lounge areas and a stage, which was stripped bare by volunteers last week before keys were handed back.Libby Law, 21, senior volunteer, also plays guitar and piano and is a lead singer for The Performing Room. She volunteers four nights a week and said the group is her life.She said: “We are such a family-friendly unit, I can’t imagine us not being together. “I’m gutted this place has gone right now. As a child I didn’t have the best bringing up so when I came here it gave me a resource to express music and express how I can work with other people. It’s not just about the music, it’s about communication with others.”

The move comes after Janan's attempts to seach for a new premesis but he said the offers The Performing Room received were unsuitable with not enough space, at too high cost and a number of access restrictions. Emily Rooken-Smith has been attending with her son Zacharia for four years.She said: “I came here with little confidence and wanted to train to be a yoga instructor.“And through singing here it’s built my confidence to do my yoga training. They allowed me here to try and promote myself, and a few people have done yoga with me here.“It would be horrible to not exist any more, it’s sad that it has come to this and to see it all ripped out.”Matthew Weller, 22, heard about the project through one of his carers and was really nervous to meet new people but made new friends almost instantly.He said: “I moved to Northampton at the very end of 2018 and before that I had no real friends, no real interaction.“I was completely introverted, I didn’t speak to no-one. And, now, thanks to Performing Room and Janan I’ve blossomed.”

Members of the group are desperate to find a new home as The Performing Room is now in storage.

If you can help Janan find a new home for his centre, then email [email protected]

The former video room.
Pictures of the studio.