New town centre home found for 'music family' in Northampton after landlord steps in

Renovation works have started on Performing Room's new building in Guildhall Road. Pictured front left to right: Boss Janan Fifield and landlord Rakesh Thakarar. Picture by Kirsty Edmonds.
Renovation works have started on Performing Room's new building in Guildhall Road. Pictured front left to right: Boss Janan Fifield and landlord Rakesh Thakarar. Picture by Kirsty Edmonds.

The boss of a musical wellbeing charity that had to temporarily shut down three months ago has said he 'has struck gold' after a new premises has been found.

In September last year, 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.

Janan pictured with volunteer Karen by Kirsty Edmonds in the new premises.

Janan pictured with volunteer Karen by Kirsty Edmonds in the new premises.

The Mounts-based building was purpose-designed to inspire the next generation of musicians who wanted to build on their confidence, make new friends and find an alternative to mainstream education.

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

After reading Janan's appeal for a new home, published by the Chronicle & Echo, a new landlord stepped in to save the day.

He has now offered the group a new home in Guildhall Road, opposite the museum.

Landlord, Rakesh Thakarar, said he was reading the Chron appeal with his wife, Minal, and months later, when the building became empty, he left Janan a voicemail.

The next day Janan and Karen, who also helps to manage the group, went to see the building.

Rakesh said: "We read the story in the Chronicle & Echo at the time and as soon as I read it I thought 'that sounds like a cause that's worth supporting in any way that's possible'.

"When we read about what Performing Room does we knew that it should be based in the Cultural Quarter of Northampton."

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

More than 60 people a day, from 40 local services, accessed projects at The Performing Room, which include musical activities, IT, photography, production and radio broadcasting – just to name a few.

Janan, who is now revamping the five-storey building, said: "I did not dream for a moment that we would move into a building, which I have walked past for years.

"I said it was beyond our wildest dreams and we have struck gold.

"It's an incredible turnaround and a great chance to open up a new chapter, not just for us but for everyone in Northampton."

The keys for the new premises were handed over to the Performing Room on December 16 - and work has now started on the ground floor of the building.

He added: "Rakesh is an extraordinary man - it would be great if there were more people out there like him who love this town and want to upskill it.

"He's certainly doing his bit to add extra value to Northampton. The building he is leasing to us he knows will give the town a big impact.

“He and his wife are really passionate about Northampton and they want to do their best to make it a happier and more exciting place to live in."

Special thanks have also been paid to Laura and Ned from the Goedlife charity and Alison and Stuart Livings from Living Edge Carpentry for their donations to get the new project started.

It is hoped that renovation works on the ground floor will be completed within the month ready to accommodate schools and disability groups, which the centre works with while Janan is reaching out to volunteers and tradespeople to help complete the rest of the renovation.