Into the BARN: Opening Doors in the Community – A new scheme launches in Wells

What would your community group, theatre company, school, artists collective, charity or business do with free access to a fifteenth century barn, recreation grounds and bandstand?

The trustees of Wells Recreation Ground Trust are launching a dynamic new scheme in Wells, Somerset which they hope will help encourage and support lots of new community activity in the heart of the city. The scheme called Into the BARN will offer 10 FREE opportunities for organisations, groups and individuals to hire The Bishop’s Barn – and also utilise the Recreation Ground and Bandstand if desired.

Into the Barn

This opportunity is open to artists, community groups, schools, charities, individuals, businesses, collectives and social entrepreneurs for events taking place throughout 2018.

The scheme aims to not only provide some important cultural and community opportunities in Wells and bring together local community makers, but also to raise awareness of the Barn which is in the process of applying to Heritage Lottery Fund for re-development and renovation and develop its future partnerships.

The Bishop’s Barn and surrounding Recreation Grounds are located in the centre of Somerset’s historic city of Wells. Given to the people 130 years ago by Bishop Lord Arthur Hervey in two parts, in 1887 and 1897, as a place for recreation and amusement, trustees are now determined to bring The Bishop’s Barn back to the heart of community life in Wells.

WRGT Entrance web

The barn has a varied history: from a medieval tithe barn storing grain in the fifteenth century to a 1970s venue for iconic bands such as Status Quo, Supertramp and SLADE –  housing audiences of up to fifteen hundred; from a site for the quartering of Royalist troops during the Bloody Assizes to a roller skating venue in 1910; from an overspill Christmas sorting space for the Post office in 1955 to its more recent use as venue for weddings, celebrations and community events in the 90s: the Bishop’s Barn has seen its fair share of history.

Last week it was announced that the organisation that ran the Wells Bandstand Festival in 2017, Superact, had sadly gone into liquidation. So this venture comes at an important time locally. In light of this trustees are especially keen to re-ignite community opportunities and potentially look at a new means of continuing the summer band concerts.


Image reproduced from Wells and Mendip City Archives with thanks

Councillor John Parham, Chair of the Wells Recreation Ground Trust commented: “This is a great opportunity for Wells and one we hope will be embraced by the community and bring new life, ideas and events to rejuvenate a building already rich with a great history”.

Events can be anything from festivals to networking events, art exhibition to performances, the main things trustees will be looking for is the social and community value of events. Charities and not for profit groups can also use this as an opportunity to raise funds for specific causes and generate an income although applications must demonstrate how these funds will be utilised.

Groups can apply to have access to the barn for anything between 24hrs and 6 days and support will be given for applying for licences needed and use of the facilities.

As part of the scheme successful applicants will need to commit to raising at least £200 towards The Bishop’s Barn Development Fund which will go towards making future improvements to the Barn and Recreation Grounds.


Louise Lappin-Cook Project Development Manager for The Bishop’s Barn commented: “We hope this will provide a wonderful opportunity to bring some new ideas to life. We were especially keen that the programme was open to both individuals and organisations – the barn has a rich history of young people programming acts and events and we wanted to ensure this new scheme reflected that entrepreneurial spirit. We are very excited to see what proposals the community puts forward, our recent survey asking what people wanted to see the barn used for highlighted just how important people feel it is to have a space for the community to come together so we’re looking forward to seeing how people respond.”

The scheme is now open for applications. Individuals or groups need to be located within a 5-mile radius of The Bishop’s Barn or have a significant and demonstrable connection to the city.

To apply, applicants need to submit a completed application form and project budget for their event. The deadline for applications is 9am, 22nd December 2017 for events taking place from February to December 2018. Successful applicants will be announced on 17th January 2018.

Download Application Info Here:

For further enquiries contact

Into the Barn Application Guidance

Application Form


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