The Music Venue Trust (MVT) has launched a Christmas gifting campaign to help at-risk grassroots venues.

Music Venue Properties, the independent Charitable Community Benefit Society created by the MVT, has announced the ‘Give The Gift of Ownership’ scheme, to encourage music fans to gift shares in the campaign to friends and family over the festive period.

According to the MVT, anyone can gift a share under the ‘Give The Gift of Ownership’ initiative with a minimum investment of £50 here.

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The recipients of shares automatically become a member and co-owner of the Charitable Community Benefit Society and its assets and will receive a guaranteed 3 per cent APR return on their investment.

Chris Prosser, director of MVP said: “By supporting the ‘Give The Gift of Ownership’ campaign music fans will provide much needed resources for Music Venue Properties to acquire the freehold of more at-risk grassroots music venues.

“With 16 per cent of the UK’s grassroots music venues having closed in the last 12 months at a rate of two per week, this initiative serves as a timely reminder that these are more than just spaces; they are cultural landmarks that have witnessed the rise of legendary bands and the birth of countless musical memories, while also acting as platforms for emerging artists to hone their craft and connect with fans.

(L-R) Claire Mera-Nelson, Director of Music for Arts Council England, Rachael Flaszczak managing director The Snug, John Whittingdale Minister for Creative Industries, Mark Davyd, CEO and Founder of Music Venue Trust. CREDIT: Music Venue Trust

“Giving the gift of ownership to friends and family this Christmas supports not only music but strengthens the communities these venues are a part of while proving that the public can and should take ownership of the cultural scenes they build.”

Music Venue Properties has identified nine potential grassroots music venue acquisitions throughout the UK which the ‘Give The Gift of Ownership’ campaign is expected to raise much needed funds for.

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To date, almost £2.5m has been raised from over 1200 individual investors and the MVP crowdfunding platform #OwnOurVenues has now re-opened for further share sales to support this campaign.

The #OwnOurVenues initiative was first announced in May, following the news that legendary gig spaces like North London’s Nambucca and Sheffield’s Leadmill were closing their doors or under threat, respectively.

Having been backed by Ed Sheeran, the scheme aims to secure the long-term futures of such venues by directly tackling the issue of ownership.

Earlier this month, the MVT shared details of the first grassroots music venue to have been purchased by the MVP – The Snug – a 100-capacity venue in Atherton, Greater Manchester.

According to a press release at the time, the MVP secured the freehold of the building occupied by The Snug and placed it into permanent protected status.

As a result, The Snug was directly supported in its ambition to bring music to its local community by a landlord who shared and supported that goal. This relationship is reflected in a commitment by MVP to remove The Snug from the pressures of the commercial lease market by offering a rent reduction and a contribution towards building repairs and insurance.

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