Charleston Trust launches final crowdfunding campaign

The Charleston Trust now needs just £160k to re-open in spring 2021.
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And it has partnered with Art Happens, the Art Fund’s crowdfunding platform for museums and galleries, to raise the final funds.

Thirty-one years after it first opened its doors to the public, Charleston continues to be a site of pilgrimage for people from all over the world who come to be inspired by its unique Bloomsbury interior.

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But seven months after it was forced to close and cancel its flagship literary festival – the doors remain closed.

Charleston HouseCharleston House
Charleston House

Museums and galleries were told in July that they could open again, but for places such as Charleston this has simply not been possible.

The intimate domestic spaces of the house have prevented the independent charity from being able to reopen because they make social distancing and other Covid-proofing measures impossible without significant changes to the way Charleston is equipped and operates.

Since the charity was formed in the 1980s it has relied on ticket sales and visitor spend in its shops and cafe to survive, rather than public money.

This income stopped overnight on March 18.

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A second blow was the necessary cancellation of the Charleston Festival.

Despite losing commercial income of nearly £1.7m this year, the staff and trustees of the charity have remained focused on ensuring that Charleston can reopen in spring 2021.

After months of hard work and enterprising approaches to fundraising, they are close to fulfilling their goal.

Using Art Fund’s Art Happens platform, a final crowdfunding campaign launched on Thursday, October 15, on the eve of the 104th anniversary of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant’s moving to Charleston.

Charleston farmhouseCharleston farmhouse
Charleston farmhouse
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By raising its target of £160,000 in the four-week window, Charleston will be able to make changes to its buildings and business model which will ensure it can start welcoming visitors again.

A group of Charleston supporters have clubbed together to provide match funding, which means that every donation will be doubled.

Plus supporters will have the option of receiving an exclusive Charleston-themed reward or experience for donating.

Nathaniel Hepburn, director and chief executive, said: “Charleston has received tremendous support this year which saved the charity from going under in the spring. We are now nearly at the point where we can reopen the house, studio, galleries and garden.”

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