A MUSIC academy seeking to create an arts hub in Witney has appealed for help in its bid to raise thousands of pounds in just one month.

MuzoAkademy needs £18,000 to pay the deposit on Wychwood Brewery's former distribution centre, which the music school hopes to turn into a facility for the community.

The 7 C's foundation, which runs the academy, last week revealed its plans to make the building its 'Rock Barn 2.0', a reference to its former home in Witney Market Square.

MuzoAkademy is aiming to galvanise the support gained through its 'Save the Rock Barn' campaign by raising enough funds in time to move into the venue at the end of June.

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But 7 C's chairman, Jon Berry, admitted it would be difficult to meet the target without help from the public.

He said: “The 7 C's trustees are committed to the idea that we can only get there with the community.

“The thousands of people who signed the save the Rock Barn petition are the ones we need to push us up this hill.”

He added: “The way Witney is growing as a community arts hub in Oxfordshire drives us to do this.

"If the community can’t help us then it can’t happen. We would need a real commitment from people.”

At a packed meeting at Wychwood Brewery last Wednesday, Mr Berry and fellow 7 C's trustee, Jane O'Brien, set out their plans for the community arts centre.

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They revealed 7 C’s finances were in a ‘surprisingly good state’, with £5,000 raised from the 'Save the Rock Barn' campaign already ring-fenced to go towards the deposit.

Ms O'Brien went through the results of a recent survey, which asked people what they wanted from an arts hub.

She said: “We’re here to meet the needs of the community.

"We want a space that’s flexible, that maintains the fantastic growth of MuzoAkademy and meets our needs today and for the future.”

After the presentation, the trustees presented the former distribution centre, next to the brewery's base on the Eagle Industrial Estate, for the first time.

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The 6,500sq ft warehouse is more than four times the size of the Rock Barn, with the trustees envisaging a range of additions including a fixed stage, mobile 'learning pods' and a cafe and bar.

The charity hopes it can develop the space once it moves in, with a temporary stage and portakabins likely to come in during the first few months.

However, MuzoAkademy would need to produce a structural report and fire safety review beforehand, along with a change of use agreement in principle.

Annual costs would near £40,000 per year, but Mr Berry insists it is worth every penny.

He said: “It’s a little unreal, because we’ve been searching without any success for 18 months before we were out of the Rock Barn.

“We got a whisper about this in April and Wychwood have been really accommodating.”

“In the last eight weeks, everything has run very quickly.”

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Mr Berry added: “It’s for the whole community. Every other venue we looked at presented us with significant challenges.

“But this venue is very central, it’s a great access point and it’s right in the cultural heart of Witney. It feels like the right place for us to be.”

MuzoAkademy left the now-demolished Rock Barn in September, after a planning application to replace the building with six flats was approved.

The music school, which teaches music to more than 100 people of all ages and abilities, endured a difficult period in the aftermath.

Membership dropped by 10 per cent, while the charity cancelled its annual Halloween Showcase.

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Since it left the Rock Barn, the charity has been based temporarily in Witney Music Rooms, which is next door to the brewery.

Alongside using The Music Rooms, the academy struck a deal to store its equipment at various locations across Witney, including Wood Green School and Langdale Hall.

The charity also submitted an application to make the Rock Barn an Asset of Community Value to help them secure a new home.

Even if MuzoAkademy moves into the warehouse, the brewery will remain on site.

A brewery spokesperson said: “We are always keen to support local community groups within Witney and were pleased to host the open meeting for MuzoAkademy last week at our Brewery Tap Bar, which attracted great local support.

“We are aware MuzoAkademy are currently trying to secure our former distribution warehouse and subject to plans, we hope to be some help in the future.”