The Place Theatre issues public appeal to help fund eco-friendly energy switch

The Place Theatre on Bradgate Road is hoping halve its carbon footprint

The Bedford Players’ Trust have appealed for public support to help The Place Theatre become more environmentally friendly.

A Gofundme page has been set up as The Place seeks £9,500 of public funding within two months to enable the replacement of gas boilers with a hydro unit.

The change would see The Place Theatre, located on Bradgate Road, Bedford, cut its carbon footprint by over 50%.

Chief operating officer Rae Levene told the Bedford Independent that the theatre was successful in applying for financial support for the project from Bedford Borough Council’s Climate Change Fund.

However, an application to another fund run by The Theatres Trust in conjunction with the Wolfson Foundation aimed at environmental sustainability was unsuccessful. This led to the public appeal to help make up the funding shortfall.

Great Expectations by Swan Theatre Company at The Place, 2018. Photo credit: Greenfield Photography Bedford

Rae Levene said: “Although we were told it was a strong application they were substantially oversubscribed and only 23% of the applications were successful.

“We are installing one unit which will provide all our heating and hot water. This is being installed by Batchelors, a local firm skilled in this area of work.”

Levene added that besides the installation of the hydro unit itself, ‘substantial alterations’ to the plumbing were needed for the change. These would also be carried out by a local firm, R. W. Knights Plumbers, who have provided services to The Place since it opened ‘nearly twenty years ago’.

The change from gas boilers to a hydro unit will reduce The Place’s carbon footprint by more than half, to 6.3 CO2e tonnes. CO2e is a term which collates different greenhouse gases together as a common unit and signifies the amount of CO2 which would have the equivalent emissions impact.

It may also help reduce the building’s energy running costs in the future as the hydro unit to be installed reuses wasted heat.

A rehearsal at The Place Photo credit: Chiara Mac Call Photography

As reported previously by the Bedford Independent, The Place were awarded a grant from central government’s Cultural Recovery Fund last year to help keep the theatre going during the pandemic.

Read:Bedford Esquires and Place Theatre awarded financial lifeline from Cultural Recovery Fund

Levene said that while The Place has already received more than 90% of the grant, the financial support from this can only be spent ‘in the way that it was applied for’.

He added: “Our application did include capital works one of which was a complete upgrade of our catering facilities and this starts later this month. This will enable us to offer a wider choice of food and beverages.”

At the time of going to publication, the Gofundme page set up by Emily Alleyne on behalf of The Bedford Players’ Trust, who run the theatre, had raised £969 of the £9,500 needed to help fund the energy change.

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