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.
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.
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