Derby Quad's important standing in the city and why it needs our support during this critical time

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It is such an important part of the city - please use it because we don't want to lose it

When news broke of Derby Quad's £150,000 loan to see it survive the cost of living crisis, I was shocked.

It is one of those institutions that always seemed to be flourishing, with a jam-packed roster of events, often attracting big-name headliners, such as acclaimed author Kate Mosse as part of Derby Book Festival, and more.

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How can this beating heart, one of the leading cultural hubs in the city, need financial assistance?

Of equal significance is how did Derby Quad get here - to the point of making multiple impassioned pleas on its fundraiser pages, stating quite simply "Quad needs your help" and "we cannot do this without you"?

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's latest announcement of forcing universities to cap students taking "low value" degrees - that are reported to include studies on arts and humanities - can be seen as a barometer of how this current Government views the importance of arts and culture.

Yes, Derby Quad has been thrown a £150k lifeline loan which it is expected to pay back next year, however it is likely to need more funds in the coming years.

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Take into consideration the mercurial economic climate, that has seen finances of people and businesses of all sizes take a battering, and a change in people's behaviour post-Covid - footfall has decreased in the city centre - and it is actually not surprising that Derby Quad needs financial help.

Derby Quad. Picture by Nick ArcherDerby Quad. Picture by Nick Archer
Derby Quad. Picture by Nick Archer

Firstly, Derby Quad is a registered charity with an interesting history spanning 15 years.

Did you know that Derby Quad was born out of a partnership between two leading light organisations, Q Arts and Metro Cinema - the latter was the first independent outside of London cinema, according to the Derby Quad website.

Derby Quad's noble cause of being a contemporary gallery and cinema in 2008 when it first opened its doors to welcome Derbeians has evolved into something much, much bigger.

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Its 15-year journey has seen it expand and transcend hopes and expectations - Derby Quad reports it has welcomed more than three-and-a-half million visitors.

The Derby Quad website says it has contributed more than £70million to the local economy.

Impressive figures alone cannot stave off the cost of living crisis, which I suspect is one of the principal reasons behind the £150,000 loan and subsequent fundraiser announcement.

Derby Quad cited rising energy costs, said its building suffered "wear and tear", and that it needed urgent equipment to maintain its offering.

I have always been a big supporter of Derby Quad.

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I studied at the University of Derby and spent my formative years in the city.

When I returned to live in Derby a decade ago, I discovered Derby Quad and couldn't help but think "why wasn't this cool, brilliant institution around when I was studying here?"

I visit Derby Quad whenever I'm in the city and use it as a base for when I want to switch up my work-from-home routine, which is when I hunker down with my laptop and a coffee from the cafe that also serves a wide range of food and drink.

Over the years I have booked on to numerous events at Derby Quad including Tina Jay's scriptwriting course and Alex Davis's EdgeLit sci-fi thriller series.

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This is the beauty of Derby Quad - its events carry you along on your learning journey, which helps boost your confidence while meeting awesome people in the process.

Derby Quad's multi-faceted offering of art and exhibition gallery plus cinema means it is the go-to destination for a wide cross-section of society including students, professionals, families and more.

It is wheelchair friendly, hosts dementia-friendly and descriptive subtitled cinema screenings, and inclusivity is one of its tenets, so it really is a beloved space that embodies inclusion.

Inside Derby Quad. Picture by Graham Lucas CommonsInside Derby Quad. Picture by Graham Lucas Commons
Inside Derby Quad. Picture by Graham Lucas Commons

Now, the thing with Derby Quad is that you always expect it to be there.

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When news breaks of a popular restaurant closure, how many people take to Facebook and share their commiserations, along with a sad face emoji - then realise they haven't actually eaten at the restaurant for a while?

I'm guilty of this too, which is why I am taking active steps to support my favourite places when I can.

From blockbuster screenings including Barbie, Mission Impossible Dead Reckoning Part 1 and Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, to anime and exclusive Derby Peace Week preview events, there is so much happening at Derby Quad this month and beyond.

I hope this great institution gets the support it needs because the cultural landscape in Derby would not be the same without it.

You can support Derby Quad by visiting the venue - more information is available here.

Derby QUAD's fundraiser page can be found by clicking here.

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