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The Ferret in Preston becomes latest space saved by MVT’s ‘Own Our Venues’ scheme

It's the second venue to be owned as part of the MVT's scheme.

By Nick Reilly

The Ferret in Preston

The Ferret in Preston is the second grassroots music venue to secure its future as part of the Music Venue Trust’s ‘Own Our Venues’ scheme.

The venue, which has previously hosted gigs from the likes of Royal Blood, Ed Sheeran and IDLES, has secured its future after being acquired by Music Venue Properties (MVP).

It comes after the scheme oversaw the successful purchase of The Snug in Atherton, Greater Manchester, last year.

Launched last year, the #ownourvenues scheme strives to purchase the freeholds of grassroots venues. The investment project will allow music fans to buy in at a return of 3% APR, with the pooled cash going towards buying the venues outright in a bid to avoid being beholden to third party landlords that sometimes threaten the future of venues.

As part of the deal, The Ferret has signed a “cultural lease” with MVP that states it must continue to operate as a grassroots live music space for the local community.

“This is a monumental moment for The Ferret,” said Matt Fawbert, Director & Programme Manager of the venue. “We’re extremely pleased to be able to say that our venue is now safe & secure for years to come. We want to thank everyone who invested & donated, but today we especially want to thank our friends at Music Venue Properties.”

“To have a landlord that is dedicated to live music and supporting grassroots music venues gives us the security & confidence to not only continue delivering great live music to the people of Preston, but also to invest even more in grassroots music and culture and create something very exciting in our city.”

As the MVT previously explained, it owns venues through a charitable community benefit society (CCBS).

Mark Dayvd, CEO of Music Venue Trust, said: “This second purchase by Music Venue Properties is further demonstration that, when the music community comes together around a great idea, we can deliver real positive change to the UK’s Grassroots Music Venue sector.”

“The Ferret is the second venue removed from the commercial marketplace under the Own Our Venues scheme. It is now able to make long-term plans for its future, and the future of live music in Preston, as a result of a new cultural lease that provides it with permanently protected status. We have already seen the huge difference this has made for the Snug in Atherton, and we want to see this project rolled out to many more venues across the country.”

IDLES’ Adam Devonshire added: “We’ve been fortunate enough to be looked after by the wonderful, hard-working team at The Ferret on a couple of occasions now, so can easily attest to how important a role it plays within the city and how vital a cog it is within the network of grassroots venues in this country.

“Venues like this are the backbone of the industry and they must be protected by all means necessary. Up The Ferret and all who sail in her.”