The Barn Facing Financial Challenges

21st Feb · Dawn Hawkins

As Aberdeenshire’s largest multi-arts organisation, the Barn is a key contributor to the cultural landscape in North East Scotland and 2024 marks the organisations 30th Anniversary.

As a charity, their focus extends beyond arts and cultural events. The Barn actively work towards connecting rural communities, including those vulnerable to isolation and loneliness, and exploring the climate emergency through the arts. In 2024, the Barn will celebrate its 30th year. It has always been uniquely placed to build strong and trusting relationships with audiences and participants who range from the very young to active aging groups, from people who have always called Aberdeenshire home to those who are new to the region. They have been recognised for their community-focused work and were shortlisted as one of the top ten arts organisations out of 300 in the UK and Northern Ireland for the Calouste Gulbenkian Award for Civic Arts Organisations 2023.

However, like many arts organisations, they are currently facing a huge financial challenge to survive. The organisation has seen pressures from increased costs across all areas and that coupled with decreased income has seen the Barn’s reserves severely depleted, making it more and more difficult to operate. Victoria Layt, General Manager says “Our income has been severely challenged since the Pandemic. We are still feeling the effects on our earned income through private hires and although we are heartened to see audiences returning, we are still to achieve pre-pandemic levels. In addition to this, the funding landscape across the arts sector is more competitive than ever and obtaining funding from grants is challenging. All these factors have resulted in the Barn facing serious, unprecedented, financial challenges.”

As an organisation, the Barn are committed to work through this financial crisis.

Victoria Layt, goes on to say; “We are doing all we can to move through these very difficult times. In addition to all our applications for funding, we are working hard to supplement our finances with earned income from ticket sales, retail, our bar, private hires and fundraising events.

Unfortunately, we have had to take the difficult decision to cut staff hours for the foreseeable future which with it, brings additional challenges. We are also looking at where we can reasonably increase our ticket prices for events as we are no longer in a position to absorb all these costs.

We are very excited about our programme for 2024 and beyond, which includes community projects and events, a variety of music, theatre and dance, films and workshops, and look forward to announcing these all soon.

We believe that art and culture improves lives, and that everyone should have the opportunity to access the arts. We hope our communities realise the benefits of having the Barn in Banchory and Aberdeenshire and that they continue to support us in our time of need. We believe that with our hard work and continued public support, the Barn will get through this difficult time.”