Future of Worthing's culture offer to be discussed
Released: Tuesday, 26 February 2019
Management at Worthing Theatres are set to be given the go ahead to take the next step in moving the town's increasingly popular venues into a self-governing Trust.
High-quality innovative programming from the team at Worthing Borough Council has transformed the town's theatres and museum in recent years, seeing ticket sales rise, revenues increase and an overall contribution of nearly £6 million to the local economy each year.
As part of a plan to take this offer to the next level, senior councillors agreed in July 2018 to look at the potential of running its cultural services within an arms-length body which would reinvest back into the community.
Following an open procurement that began in September last year, senior councillors are recommended to select a bid from the Council's in-house cultural services team to create a trust vehicle to run the town's venues.
If approved at a meeting next week, the next step would then be for detailed financial and legal assessments in the coming months to ensure the new organisation's five year business plan is robust.
Councillor Daniel Humphreys, Leader of Worthing Borough Council, said:
“The contribution of the theatres and museum to our town in recent years has been immeasurable, helping put Worthing on the map as an innovative and vibrant place to live.”
“Trust status has the potential to further grow this reputation and ensure our cultural offer does not stand still, bringing in extra funding and allowing further investment in staff, historic buildings and programming.”
Worthing Borough Council's Cultural Services team currently oversee the management and running of four venues (Worthing Museum and Art Gallery, Connaught, Pavilion Theatre and Assembly Hall).
A paper discussing the process of placing the service and venues into trust will be presented at the Adur & Worthing Councils' Joint Strategic Committee next week (Tuesday 5th March 2019).
It notes that moving to a charitable trust would give the cultural service greater independence as well as the ability to access further grants and sponsorship, both of which it cannot do at present - all while building on a emerging reputation for programming.
Senior councillors will also be asked to support the creation of a new Trust at the public meeting.
Councillor Heather Mercer, Worthing Borough Council's Executive Member for Cultural Services, said:
“The contribution that culture makes to our town is considerable, bringing in millions to the local economy and supporting businesses in our town centre.”
“This is in no small part due to the hard work and endeavour of our current team, who have made our venues open and accessible to all. This proposed step gives them the potential to ensure culture continues to develop and thrive.”
Photo: Summer of Circus is one of the events that has transformed Worthing Theatres
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