LOTTERY FUND CHALLENGED ON £126,000 GRANT TO PIER PAVILION “CHARITY” PACL

Last night’s National Lottery draw: Penarth Arts and Crafts – leaseholders of Penarth Pier Pavilion and Cinema – didn’t need to buy a ticket to strike lucky

The Heritage Lottery Fund is now being asked to explain its decision to award  £126,000 of public money to the struggling not-for-profit private company/”charity” Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd (PACL) – the leaseholders of Penarth Pier Pavilion and Cinema.

The £126,000 grant was announced on April 19th and is earmarked money intended to enable PACL  to buy-in “professional advice” over the next 18 months to develop a “long term strategy”  –  something which, in the case of commercial companies, the Chief Executive and the board directors are normally expected to provide.

The Vale of Glamorgan Council owns Penarth Pier Pavilion but has leased it to Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd for 125 years. Some say it’s already high-time the lease was taken back.

The new grant is being comes only three years after a £4,200,000 renovation – also largely paid for by public money derived from the National Lottery – and after a previous grant , believed to be £200,000 – which also came from the Heritage Lottery Fund [in that case from its Coastal Communities Fund].

The National Lottery – criticised as a “tax on the poor and the stupid for the benefit of the middle classes” – continues to be one of the worst gambles anyone can take because the odds are so heavily stacked against players from the outset, with almost half their stakes being deducted from the total amount of winnable prize-money.

  • Only 54p out of every £1 staked in the National Lottery is actually returned to lottery-winners in prize money.
  • 1p in every £1 staked goes in profit,
  • 4p out of every £1 staked goes to meet operating costs,
  • 4p out of every £1 staked goes in commission to retailers
  • 12p out of every £1 staked goes to the Government in “Lottery Duty”
  • 25p out of every £1 staked goes to pay for what are claimed to be  “good causes” and  “Lottery Projects” . However in  2009 the Daily Telegraph reported that deprived areas with a high proportion of lottery players – like Blaenau Gwent and Bridgend –  are ranked much lower on the scale when it comes to getting back lottery-funded investments for their areas.

PACL has said 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”.

Cllr Ian Courtney (Labour Cornerswell) served on the PACL board as Penarth Council’s nominee but resigned 2 years ago.

Penarth resident Andrew Jones is campaigning to save the Cinema and is questioning the new lottery grant to PACL

However now questions are being asked as to why the Heritage Lottery Fund dispensed this additional largesse to Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd – a company which, former board director Cllr Ian Courtney said, did not even deliver monthly accounts to its directors .

Penarth resident Andrew Jones –  who’s campaigned actively against the closure of the Pavilion Cinema – says he’s concerned about the way in which £126,000 lottery grant application from Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd has “sailed through” as no conditions requiring the cinema to be re-opened were attached to it .

Richard Bellamy of the Wales Office of the Heritage Lottery Fund

Mr Jones has now written an open letter to Richard Bellamy the Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Wales saying  £126,000 is a considerable sum of money to be investing in an organisation which is not demonstrating good management and is not displaying any evidence of responding to local needs by reopening the cinema.” .

Mr Jones says he’s been informed by reliable sources that the reason the Pier Pavilion Cinema suddenly closed was because the Independent Cinema Office (the ICO) [ the organisation  which provides films for exhibition at the Pier Pavilion Cinema]  pulled the plug on PACL at the end of February because PACL had – allegedly – not been paying its bills“.

The ICO has confirmed to Mr Jones that they are in discussion with  PACL and with the Vale of Glamorgan Council .

Under its governance procedures the Heritage Lottery Fund now has to explain why a further grant of £126,000 of public money has been awarded to Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd –  apparently without any guarantee being given that the company’s problems are being sorted out, that the existing management will be improved  and that the Penarth Pier Pavilion Cinema will  be re-opened.

The Heritage Lottery Fund says on its website “As custodians of money raised by National Lottery players and grant-in-aid funding, we will always take your concerns seriously, and we have processes to ensure that they can be investigated.”

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31 Responses to LOTTERY FUND CHALLENGED ON £126,000 GRANT TO PIER PAVILION “CHARITY” PACL

  1. Jan Harding says:

    I applaud you Andrew Jones, thank you for everything you are doing to try and get our cinema open again. Thank you for your time spent writing these outstanding letters and more. So appreciate everything.

    • Philip Rapier says:

      Refusing to accept volunteer labour from the Community twice has cost £376000 in total for the same work.
      Spot the difference between these two statements.
      Penarth Times 2 June 2011
      “PACL was awarded £99,600 in November 2009, to develop the proposals further, while a grant of £50,000 was awarded in 2007 for essential planning work.”

      Penarth Daily News Last Week
      “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”.

  2. 5 years ago I offered pro bono strategic brand and marketing tourism strategy advice to the chair. Nope we prefer to pay for services.Umm!

    I questioned some of the PACL Directors including one x Secretary from the Washington gallery days , management and trusted trustees and volunteers running PACL – their DNA – no answer bottom line from the Chair. Some rather misfortunate methods of communication transpired
    observed by many.

    I communicated with the charity commission, no answer

    I reached out to Civitas direct access barristers: can’t help their Clerk said last Wednesday, as we work for the Vale of Glamorgan – we have a conflict – all 19 barristers? What about the law of Chinese walls ? Another chambers said the same thing – come on Welsh legal teams where are you?

    Ombudsman – nope sorry Nicki – don’t have the legal access to charities. What about Penarth Pier Ltd owned by same directors as PACL.?

    The political landscape – the General Manager of Vale who has been in direct contact is in a difficult position as they have invested over £1 million of our money in poor old PACL and the Chairs guidance, and so only a change to the Vale labour council can sort that as they have come out in support. He refers us to PACL who are in denial and Ostrich mode re community obligations.

    That means Grangetown voting against the labour candidate MP incumbent – by our new candidates reaching out to candidates there with the key message, so we are reaching all communities there – Muslim, Hindu, Christians, non believers – diverse people who love bringing their families to the seafront in Penarth. Via the mosques, temples and churches or clubs
    Unfortunately one IIP candidate wasn’t in the slightest bit interested as I spoke to him the bread shop in the arcade. We all felt let down but hey, what did you expect attitude

    I have given the Vale GM an alternative thought on wellbeing in Penarth and the Vale to drive economic benefits for the town and am waiting for a response next week.

    Penarth council if changed, and the people can vote on that, can help but they are cash strapped remember.

    So an integrated consumer driven top down Vale and Cardiff and Wales campaign is needed for the pavilion in part. Visit Wales has 7m pounds to spend to bring in more tourism – we have to grab a bigger share of this using the pier and pavilion as iconic destination branding, with a social media and e marketing bias and pr to attract families and affluent couples or people traveling alone to spend,shop,dine and stay in our town .

    If our team did this for Torbay repositioned as the English Riviera which is still working 30 years later, we can do it for Penarth and the Vale that’s for sure.

    I remain utterly astounded re the nonsense, loss leading business strategy currently in place. I have never seen anything so blatantly awful.

    We all have memories and sorry, can’t and won’t forget the 5 million pounds circa already given to the PACL leaking bucket strategy. It’s shameful – it’s just not right to try to cover up. More money will be needed once the thinking, the strategy, the vital missing ingredient is agreed and in place, which we have in part shared – GRATIS!

    We still believe in joined up all together better thinking and operations is the way forward but with some major changes needed in the Penarth council workers 16 circa full time employees and the Vale. We believe outsourcing is the solution and then partnership support from the council.

  3. Chris David says:

    Ah but “it’s a matter entirely for the PACL board” How do I know this? Well Cllr Disney Burnett said so in a letter to Andrew Jones. I believe the truth is PACL have no management accounts- no idea how to run a business and the VoG are covering up because they have been derelict on duty. If not why don’t they open up? Cllr Courtney saw the amateur way the set up was being run two years ago- but it was allowed to trundle on in secrecy. Lets get rid of these Labour Louts (sorry Mr Courtney I do realise you do know what you are doing but its party over people in these councils) at the next election and at least try and ensure we get openness with the independents. There’s a cover up and it needs unwrapping. The Lottery lot are just making things worse. Why are they giving public money to a body where it pretty clear that body don’t have accounts and cant demonstrate competence and openness? Surely they are scrutinised accountable for the money they distribute? Yes thank you Mr Jones et al.

  4. Peter Church says:

    Hello PDN posters.
    Has anyone else in Penarth been suffering intermittent Virgin Media broadband?
    Rung up and they said they know about the fault and it would be the 2nd May because they would need to dig up the roads to find out where faulty cables are!
    Poor signal to noise which results in web pages not loading or being intermittent. 😦
    Maybe Mr Tony Hazell is also on Virgin Media and thats why he can’t send his e-mail comments in.

  5. Max Wallis says:

    The bill to ICO for film hire is apparently not the only contract that PPP/PACL are not honouring. Allegedly they took fees for a course being run in the Pavilion, then allegedly refused to pay the person giving it according to a person at the All Saints meeting. Interesting that the Vale Council, owners of PACL’s lease, are talking with the ICO – hopefully over guaranteeing payment. Similar rumours of dubious PPP practices are circulating in the town, but not surfacing in print in PDN or Penarth Times. Threatening letters have been received by some knowledgeable critics – doesn’t Andrew Jones in his fine letter show how to circumvent such threats?

    • Chris David says:

      Well thank you Mr Wallis that’s illuminating. Why not ask the questions without making allegations? If we saw the management accounts we could see who they owe! are they up to date with their rent / rates- the whole shebang! They’re OUR accounts. This is unbelievable behaviour by PACL and VoG, are the VoG are involved in a cover up? Lis Disney Burnett is self admittedly hiding things she knows- she said so (for legal reasons) and her statement about all this being entirely a matter for PACL is very worrying in a democracy! Police time?

    • andrewsketty says:

      I hear from reliable sources all the time of PACL failing to pay bills for services provided including individuals who have run courses at the Pavilion. Given the frequency of such examples I have no doubt of their accuracy. So this begs the questions;_
      1) Why are so many of our local elected officials appearing to back PACL and protect them from criticism?
      2) Why would the Heritage Lottery Fund hand out another £126k to a local charity with such an appalling record of mismanagement – financial and other?
      Somewhere along the line there appears to be something very very wrong given the total closedown on local accountability. There should be some kind of enquiry

  6. The Dairy says:

    I pray that Ms Page is also with Virgin media. I feel in decline every time I see one of her posts, I am losing the will to live
    Still haven’t told us about the money from the fundraising extravaganzas Ms Page

  7. Cllr Clive Williams MBE Penarth First Independents says:

    Well said Chis David. If the lottery offered £126.000 to assist the issues at the Pavilion, why would you give it to PACL who have proved they are incapable of handling money on behalf of the public. As above “why put money into a bucket with a hole in it.” ? ,
    Please save this much needed money until after 4th May when we can have a structured public meeting with a clear strategy and way forward, without being hampered by political involvement, as this is a problem that concerns many people.
    I will be pleased to work with Andrew Jones and Phillip Rapier in calling such a meeting after the 4th May, WHATEVER THE OUTCOME of the elections. I say this as I do not want to be accused of using this important issue for personal gain.
    The dividing line between Plymouth ward and St Augustines ward runs down the centre of the
    Pavilion, and there were 3 councillors from St Augustines ward involved, but Cllr Maureen Kelly Owen and I (both qualified) Plymouth ward, have never had the courtesy of being invited to be involved in any way.
    I have many years experience of information regarding the Pavilion, and stopped it being sold by the Vale Council many years ago, by saying it was one of the Jewels in the Vale’s crown, which I believe is true.

    • andrewsketty says:

      Clive – based on the information we now know locally about PACL and its trail of mismanagement I would question the HLF giving them £126 BUT the fact is it’s an eyewatering £126,000 so they MUST be held to account. I know from personal experience that getting Lottery funding is not easy ( unless of course you are PACL) and I know of other groups locally that have recently been turned down for HLF funding – amounts far smaller than the award to PACL

  8. Frank Evans says:

    I suspect Lis Burnett knows exactly what’s going on but is lieing low until after the election.
    This is an end of the pier scandal.

  9. andrewsketty says:

    Some additional points to go along with the above

    PACL is no longer a client of the ICO. This is significant as when I initially contacted the ICO they did confirm they were in talks with PACL and Vale of Glamorgan Council over a way forward. Clearly this has broken down and I would be very interested to find out more – how much did they owe the ICO? Why has this not been taken into account by HLF in assessing PACL’s financial comepetance – their debt may now be paid but quite possibly the ICO has lost faith in a future relationship with PACL. This is a big worry in terms of the future of the cinema. The only hope I had was that if they managed to get the debt sorted and restart the arrangement with ICO then all well and good. Without the services of ICO I just cannot see PACL being able to programme the cinema screenings anywhere near as successfully as previously. This is a very big worry for the future of the cinema and raises even more legitimate public interest questions about PACL

    In a recent e mail response from Cllr Lis Burnett that I was copied into she stated ‘PACL is a leaseholder in the same way as any other business on the pier and I can’t imagine people would expect the Council to intervene in their operations. That is why I would not be taking any public action. ‘

    For shame on her! Is she suggesting that the relationship with the Council is no different than with Nicola’s Juice Bar? She’s the Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Regeneration. What does it take for her to take a proactive stance on behalf of the countless concerned local residents in her ward such as myself against the total mess PACL has made of one of our most important community facilities? I hope people will remember this when voting on May 4th.

    Yes the cinema is just one aspect of the Pavilion but it is probably the most important and valued part of the operation. There are plenty of far superior cafes in Penarth and other community halls but no other cinema. Penarth has had to wait 4 decades to get a cinema again and this state of the art facility was opened with huge sums of public money and heaps of community support. None of us should feel embarrassed about wanting it back and our elected local representatives should not be so dismissive about the extent of local support and outrage over the loss of the cinema

  10. Nicki.
    I challenge you to write a Haiku summarising the plight of the peir.

  11. Chris David says:

    Who’s been paid for the original business advice and plans? Who is going to be paid out of the new £126k lottery money? Any councillors on the lists? What does Mr Hazel get paid?

    • JohnP says:

      You should be aware that trustees of charities are not entitled to be paid

      • Chris David says:

        No but directors are. As I don’t know what the LATEST set up is I’m asking- all round.

  12. 92 and a social butterfly says:

    I am getting fed up with the same points over and over again. What I would like to know is how much is paid by those filming on the pier and into which pot that money goes.

    • andrewsketty says:

      sorry you are fed up with tbe same points being made. it is because nobody will provide the local community with the much needed answers

  13. Chris David says:

    Burnett’s reaction is typical of the self serving low ability councillors we have in some areas. Ms Burnett- have you benefitted through PACL? Are all PACL’s affairs with the council up to date and fulfilled? Better answer before the elections Ms Burnett. That’s a few new questions and I’ve asked the same of councillors in general. Some of your query’s above Mr Sketty are new, but so what, some people are easily side-lined, fobbed off and just don’t understand that its the fundamental core questions we need answering. Cover up? – I sniff scandal!

  14. Ralf says:

    The NMC has ‘long-standing problems at every level’, according to the final report of the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence (CHRE), which published the findings of its strategic review of the nursing regulator earlier this month.

    This stark summary follows a turbulent eight months for the beleaguered organisation, which has seen the resignation of both its chair Professor Tony Hazell, and chief executive Professor Dickon Weir-Hughes. The CHRE review, launched in January, concludes the NMC is confused about its regulatory purpose, suffers weak management and poor planning, and uses out-dated, ineffective information technology. It highlights failures in ‘leadership, strategy, decision making…and culture’.

    Financial failings

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