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New Venture for The Milkmaid

The Milkmaid Folk Club in Bury St Edmunds was changed to a Community Interest Company in 2007. CICs are businesses with primarily social objectives whose surpluses are principally reinvested for that purpose in the business or in the community, rather than being driven by the need to maximise profit for shareholders and owners. CICs tackle a wide range of social and environmental issues and operate in all parts of the economy.

Now officially The Milkmaid Folk Arts Centre CIC, they have just been given planning permission to refurbish part of Bury St Edmunds railway station and turn it into an Arts Centre concentrating on the Folk Arts.

During the day it will be a day centre for people with disabilities. The Milkmaid have had a folk club for people with disabilities since 2008. It’s called The Milkmaid Thursday Folk Club and has had 7,000 people with disabilities and their carers come through the doors during this time. A lot of well respected artists have performed there.

As a result of the success of this folk club, they also started a Molly side for people with learning disabilities called Milkmaid Molly. Their first dance out was at The Apex in Bury St Edmunds – they were kindly given permission by Damien Barber to open his Lock In show in front of 500 people. Since then, they have danced at pubs, a couple of Oxjam weekends and last year at the Ely Folk Festival who have invited them back this year.

In the evenings and weekends, the centre will be used by the whole community to access the folk arts and the folk clubs will be housed there. This will also be a venue for agents to showcase new artists or a place to perform at as part of a tour.

The Milkmaid Folk Arts Centre are looking for help from the folk community to get this centre up and running. It’s going to cost £450,000 to complete of which they have been pledged £160,000 already. So if there is anything you can do to help, please do - it doesn’t matter how small - a letter of support, donations of CDs, posters, T-shirts or any kind of memorabilia they can use in raffles or auctions. Or if anyone fancies doing a benefit concert, I am sure they wouldn’t say no! Contact Terry at