Will £126,000’s worth of professional advice revive the fortunes of Penarth’s Pier Pavilion? The Pavilion was renovated at a cost of £4,200,000 in public money in 2013 – but has been closed for three days every week from March 6th and its new integral cinema totally shut down

Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd (a.k.a. PACL) – the struggling not-for-profit company/”charity” which holds the lease on Penarth Pier Pavilion – is to receive £126,000 in lottery funding to enable it to buy-in “professional advice” over the next 18 months .

The extra lottery cash – is purely for expert advice – and does not appear to herald any early re-opening of the integral Pavilion Cinema – which was controversially closed indefinitely on March 6th – and for which no re-opening date has been given.

Time is not on the side of the Pier Pavilion’s leaseholders – Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd (a.k.a. PACL)

The recognition of the need to buy in professional advice from outside experts  may trigger questions about the quality of the professional expertise – or lack of it –  currently residing amongst the 11 remaining directors of the company.

There has been a considerable turnover of directors the board of Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd  – with no fewer than 39 directors having come and gone in the relatively brief life of the business to date. Two resigned in February and the company secretary resigned in March.

In a new announcement, Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd says that ” Towards the middle of 2016 the Board of Trustees received encouraging details of a significant improvement in the financial health of the Pavilion as a result of important changes in the day-to-day management of the Pavilion.” [ There was no mention of this “improvement in financial health” made in the company’s public statement in February – in which it announced it would close the Pavilion on three days each week and completely close the Pavilion Cinema]   

The new PACL press release goes on to say that the board of Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd “acknowledged that, for this improvement to continue, there needed to be a long-term strategy throughout 2017 and beyond”  – a statement which may appear to imply that, up to now, PACL hasn’t had any long-term strategy.

The apparent lack of long-term planning seems further confirmed by the next part of  PACL’s statement which says that “We were also advised that we needed to undertake a thorough review of the first three years of operations within the Pavilion in order to provide a clear picture of the operational peaks and troughs within the Pavilion.”. It may come as a surprise to many local residents and paid up “members” of the Pavilion that such reviews were not already being conducted by the board as a matter of course.

Only three years after a £4,200,000 renovation, Penarth Pier Pavilion is already beginning to look somewhat uncared for

PACL says that the £126,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund “will be used exclusively to develop a more sustainable business model for the Pavilion and will enable us to secure external professional advice on all aspects of our operations”.

In conclusion, the board of Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd (a.k.a. PACL) says – perhaps with a touch of hubris –  that “we recognise the need for a more coordinated approach to managing this iconic facility.” 

There is also a tangential reference to the row between PACL and Penarth Town Council over PACL’s refusal to have a meeting with only Labour councillors. PACL says “Our plans for the future will inevitably involve collaboration with the Local Authority [ meaning the Vale of Glamorgan Council which owns the Pavilion and the Pier] to ensure solutions are ‘joined up’ and maximise the opportunities that exist.”

The full text of the Penarth Arts and Crafts statement is on http://www.penarthpavilion.co.uk/news/pacl-unveils-plans-for-the-future

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  1. andrewsketty says:

    it’s unbelievable! Whilst everyone wants to see our Pavilion and cinema bailed out to give it the successful future it deserves there are few people in Penarth who have any faith in PACL given their total mismanagement of the Pavilion

    1) Our cinema closed at short notice as PACL had NOT paid the ICO for film hire charges
    2) 1700 people have signed the petition I set up calling for the cinema to be saved yet nobody has been willing to engage with us – the cinema going public of Penarth – over it’s future which is so disappointing
    3) Our elected local politicians do not appear to want to engage with us over a way forward

    Now it has emerged that the Heritage Lottery Fund has made yet another large grant to PACL from its Resilient Heritage Programme – this time £126,000!

    This is meant ‘to provide essential financial support to organisations looking to develop a sustainable business model for their organisation’ and comes just a matter of years after the Lottery made a similar grant of £200k from its Coastal Communities Fund for a similar reason – which was clearly all spent with nothing left to show for it in terms of sustainability

    So why make yet another grant to bail out a charity that has clearly mismanaged the Pavilion so badly? I know of a historic local church in this area which was turned down a small funding bid of around £10k to HLF on grounds that with fewer people playing the Lottery then there is much less grant available!

    Where’s the community engagement/consultation in this?

    Why in PACL’s press release is there NO MENTION OF REOPENING OUR CINEMA? This was the major concern for the residents of Penarth?

    Why are our locally elected representatives silent and unwilling to engage – myself ( and others I know) have received NO replies to last few e mails on the subject? How can this be right ?

    The whole situation around PACL is a disgrace and there should now be an enquiry into how yet more grant money is being given to PACL by HLF supported by the Vale of Glamorgan Council

  2. Chris David says:

    I shouldn’t be surprised I suppose. Easy money charity hands over easy money to lazy amateur business. My guess. Never was a professional business plan. Hardly been any management meetings. Have not produced monthly management accounts. No direct day to day management- it goes on but not much. There -under these mad rules that’s £120k worth, now lets knock up a business plan and form some proper management. .

  3. On behalf of the I love ❤️ Penarth community group with my profile on linked in and comments and endorsements, I would like to apply to provide in part this critically missing marketing advice and communications and customer and volunteer engagement programme strategy – however as we need to know exactly where are we now, as 2016 accounts are not available which is pretty important – what on earth are those employed being paid for at the moment and who are the trusted trustees giving trusted input. I know only one who I believe in and I could professionally and personally trust His name beings with J

    – please let me know PACL Ltd on behalf of the I love ❤️ community: let me know the application process as we have I believe, unique insights and global best expertise to offer – please take this as my formal application –

    references available from UNWTO, Government ministers, great and good in Penarth, those born here and those recently arrived to do business; those in the church, those in retail, in the yaught club, the cons club, the labour club, the cricket club, the schools the mothers union, those in the law and in the medical world; forensic accountants leadership experts, academic experts, tourism and luxury experts: chief executives in local government in Wales media colleagues and sports and personalities:
    Professional dog walkers and professional old Penarthians in global positions out of Penarth.
    Seniors, juniors, mums and golden exceptional Penarth residents.

    As any team is only as good as the thinking, and then as good as the weakest link we need to take a close look: to be able to provide which we believe we have a bold and visionary strategic solution with marketing and customer needs at the heart of the matter – to safe guard the pavilion cinema as part of a greater Penarth new tourism and economic engagement strategy for the wellbeing of future generations

    To bring wealth into Penarth and spread the benefit through traders in town and the seafront those that have personally invested money, time, emotional effort to add value to the town. Those professionally qualified to do the jobs needed, being done

    We have to put our dirty washing out take a hard look at things- the reality in the cold light of a public day – face facts, full on and then move forward with a clear and transparent – a winning game plan.

    My contact is nicki@page1world.co.uk I will share the plan in the third sos meeting early May so the people of Penarth themselves can vote on the ideas 💡 that means the pavilion will have the people behind them – Japan airways with whom I worked do it this way – it works. The Emirates do it this way, Oman did it this way, it worked for us there. British Airways didn’t do it this way and many others in the West still don’t – interesting now Brexit is upon us

    • OLD PENARTHIAN. says:

      Well Nicki another Boring load of Dribble. Rather surprised you havnt contacted Mr Trump? but first you must improve your spelling ( YAUGHT )

    • Bob says:

      Is this post a spoof?

    • Tom says:

      WTF are you on about?

    • The Milkmaid says:

      1. How can you talk of transparency?
      2. How can you be credible when your post appears to be rambling unfocused drivel?

    • Big Davey says:

      A bit difficult for you to provide PR consultancy service when you have been banned from the Pavilion because of errrr, your own PR 😉

      • JTR69 says:

        How unsuccint.

      • Big Davey says:

        Pretty succinct I think. Nicki Page has managed to alienate supporters of her cause as well as the people running the very thing she is trying to save.

        I won’t be hiring here to do my PR that is for sure.

    • The Marketing Guru says:

      Nicki your last meeting was a shambles whats going to be different with this one? Who are you speaking for? You say the people of Penarth, I’m one of them and sadly your not doing it for me. You talk about transparency and the trusted trustees but you can’t be honest with your past charities. Go back to your day job of PR Guruing what ever this maybe. If this has failed, which I’m guessing it has you could always drink tea with Stephen Twining.

      • It was “our” meeting and a way to try to keep the debate current, without anyone contributing to hard costs for information however one or two individuals actually giving up their time to support preparations or follow up. Easy to sit and criticise I find. Not so easy to do – to get a result in this difficult matter of PACL and the Pier Ltd Directors, trustees, the Vale, Penarth councillors and accountability for circa 5 million pounds – plus a plan to go forward which we have suggested. Lets focus on the outcome we are trying to achieve – through raising awareness and lobbying we achieve a fully functioning pavilion with cinema and facilities that welcomes the community. Over to you. I more than most welcome anyone’s positive input and follow through.

  4. Jan Harding says:

    I wonder if PACL could now pay ICO for film hire charges with some of this money so we can have our cinema open and keep it open please? Yes I wonder………

  5. Frances thomas says:

    Why do we have to pay for ‘professional advice’ when there plenty of successful
    Business people and professional in Penarth who would gladly give their advice
    For free. But it seems the door to the pier pavilion stays firmly closed !

    • Big Davey says:

      To be fair (I can’t believe I am saying this) but the next move made by PACL is a really important one.

      They will need proper professional advice backed with PE cover. They will all be on the hook personally for anything that goes wrong with the Pavilion. Unlike a limited company, there is no limit to the personal exposure for the directors. I hope they all have good directors and officers insurance cover.

      They will need a professional person to properly plan the next steps, capital required and cash flows etc. Any volunteer, even a qualified one, would be exposing themselves to potential claims if there advice were deemed responsible for the failure of the Pavillion.

      Therefore this is now not the time to involve amateurs. PACL need to come up with a credible plan, backed or steered by professionals.

      I would be surprised if the trustees of PACL appreciate that their liability is personally unlimited, 99% of people serving on charity boards or trust don’t realise their personal exposure.

  6. Frank Bird says:

    You could not make this up!

  7. Nincompoop says:

    Andrew Sketty I would like to thank you for organising the petition, you sound like a very sensible person with good suggestions. It is a sad reflection on others there has been no sensible engagement.
    Re: Nicki Page, haven’t there been some other posts elsewhere on PDN that she failed to answer questions raised by others in connection to money raised?

    • OLD PENARTHIAN. says:

      Yes Nincompoop despite my numerous requests Nicki Page continues to blank my question.She speaks of believing and trusting one person, well with “The Monies Raised Question” still unanswered. I know ONE person not to trust.

  8. Watchful eye says:

    This could all be sorted by simply leasing the pier’s facilities and leaving the free market do its thing. Having the pier run- or even associated with the council is a missallocation of resources and these resources could be used elsewhere- such as subsidies to new business owners creating a positive multiplier effect on the local economy. Council run schemes rarely work as there is no incentive for managers to do well as they simply get paid at the end of the day. Privatisation is the way forward.

    • Chris Wyatt says:

      We need to differentiate between the Pavilion and the pier itself. The pier is owned and managed by the Vale of Glamorgan Council and is actually one of the best maintained piers in the UK. The Pavilion, although owned by the Vale of Glamorgan Council, has been leased to Penarth Arts & Crafts Ltd, a charitable trust, and it is they, and not the Council, who are responsible for its management.

  9. Mark Foster says:

    Isn’t it amazing how just like clockwork the historical cycle repeats itself every 70 years or so, two or three generations, just long enough for the new one to forget the old, repeating the same mistakes. The leaders have once again been immeasureably corrupted and have lost all sense of honour, just like in the Weimar Republic. How much longer do we have to wait for a Messiah to arise from outside the democratic process, perhaps from the aristocracy, and sort it all out? Moral Rearmament?

  10. 92 and a social butterfly says:

    Indeed Frances, I believe many people offered observations and advice along the way as did the volunteers on the ground who put in so much work but the apology for management DID NOT LISTEN! I can see parallels with the NHS, top heavy with management and look at the state of that.

  11. The Diary Farmer says:

    On. 14th April Ms Page replied to one of my posts with comments – re ” position with PACL I have absolutely no interest in the organisation as an employer”
    Well that was only 5 days ago, and now she says – please take this as a formal application –
    I said from the beginning she is looking to feather her own nest!
    Her meetings are just a glory trip to tell everyone who turns up, in dwindling numbers how wonderful she was in Dubai, and how she could save Penarth
    We do not need saving, but we do need saving from Nicki Paige.
    What about the charity money you raised – still no answers why only £1100 in the bank and no new cancer unit built, and the children’s heart charity rushed to put a disclaimer on this site – not good news for you I guess.
    You are just distracting from the main job in hand in that the Pavillion needs to be saved and we need to know where the money has gone, but that dear Nicki will be done by cleverer people than you and old me, forensic accountants, lawyers and accountants are the way forward as first requested at the meeting at the Pilot, where some excellent ideas were forthcoming

  12. It would be quite astonishing to spend £126,000 on professional advice over 18 months. Who on earth came up with these figures as being appropriate or necessary?

    • Jane Foster says:

      Nicki Page, probably. She’s been to Dubai, you know.

    • Chris David says:

      Well if we understood that we’d have half a chance of finding out what’s gone on over the last few years. Its a scandal and it needs exposing.

  13. Anne Greagsby says:

    The buck stops at the top. Hazel should resign then there would be a better chance of good management. Gwyn Roberts standing for Labour St Augustines again is keeping quiet about his role in the decline of the Pavillion. Same goes for Martin Turner was Conservative Plymouth Ward who is now standing for St Augustines ward. Time for a new broom.

  14. Peter Church says:

    The professional advice I would give, would be to sack the complete board and trustees of PACL.
    This by the way would be free advice.

    • Mark Foster says:

      That wouldn’t do much good. You’d just be reporting them to the Vale of Glamorgan Labour Party who would do nothing about it. You are stuffed. You just have to put up with it.

  15. Can they hire Nicki Page? As long as she doesnt charge by the word they will get excellent value for money!

  16. The Diary Farmer says:

    Daniel Williams – I hope that was a joke! If not it should be
    If she is such an amazing PRGURU. she must be in much demand elsewhere in the entire World, please!!

    • The Milkmaid says:

      Dear Dairy Farmer,
      If you note, Ms Page has references available from all over the world, Oman, UAE, Dubai, UK, The Dorchester Hotel, UNWTO, Japan Airlines, Emirates Airlines and the many many more organisations she claims on her websites.
      Interestingly as she states, British Airways didn’t do it this way, what way? Which way? Any way? Personally I like BA
      Why do these organisations no longer wish to use her, if as she claims, she was so outstanding at her job?
      It is my opinion she is not very good at finances or figures. She is certainly not good at presentation as her witterings testify.
      As we all know, Ms Page’s International HQ and shrine to Mou-La-La is The Busy Teapot, an edifice that gives credence to her international empire.
      I would like Ms Page to be in her own words, ‘transparent’ and to publish some audited accounts and figures relating to her ‘Charity’ events… including that held at The Dorchester Hotel in London.
      Where are the missing ££thousands? Many events, thousands upon thousands of pounds raised and only £1100 in the bank. Did the late Paul Daniels teach her some vanishing tricks?
      My sincere apologies, Dairy Farmer, I feel the wordy rambling is catching.
      Its time now for some men to take control of Nicki, yes, the ones in white coats.

  17. JonMartin says:

    I suspect no one will come forward to give advice from the community because
    they do not wish to be involved; do they want to get their fingers burnt – No.

    I fear Nicki is simply wallowing in the fame, and from now on Nicki, try to prove your past experience with correct titles – Japan airways – no its Japan Airlines. You did advise them, didn’t you?

    I also seem recall in the open letter you hand wrote, you spelt Tony Hazell’s name incorrectly; enough said.

  18. AK says:

    It would be interesting to survey the visitors to Penarth esplanade on a warm sunny day to find out what percentage are actually aware that there is (was) a cinema in the pavilion.

    It is a well kept secret. No signs, no cinema posters, no ‘Penarth Pier Pavillion and Cinema’

Comments are closed.