A KEY Ryedale events venue is celebrating a major investment to help it prepare to reopen after restrictions are lifted.

Ryedale District Council has voted to provide £193,000 funding for Milton Rooms in Malton to improve its infrastructure and facilities.

Earlier it had ring-fenced up to £307,000 to help fund in fully-costed projects once they have been agreed between the Rooms' committee and the council.

The Rooms' chairman of the trustees, Ray King, said about the £193,000: “We are grateful for what is the first major investment in the Milton Rooms, probably since it was built in the 1930s, and the money will be focused on key infrastructure areas that our local community and audiences have identified as being issues.

“It will allow us to upgrade toilet areas, further address the access challenges that a building of this age presents and look at improving the overall fabric and technical facilities to prepare it for reopening after Covid restrictions are fully lifted.

“But at the same time, the trustees recognise that this has to be regarded as simply the first in a new phase of investment to transform the building into a 21st century community and arts venue and we are constantly looking for additional funding from a range of sources.

“I believe this funding is also a recognition of the tremendous work that has been put in by the dedicated volunteers past and present, who have kept this iconic building open and available to all.’’

The £193,000 was agreed at the February meeting of the full council. An earlier council meeting had agreed the ring-fencing of the £307,000.

The Rooms have been certified as Covid-safe for 2021 by Visit Britain.

Venue manager Lisa Rich added: “We always welcome new volunteers to the team, particularly any with experience of the technical side of arts production and presentation, so please make contact by emailing info@themiltonrooms.com should you have a few spare hours.’’