Paid-up members of the Penarth Pier Pavilion’s exclusive “Membership Scheme” are trying to clarify their position, following reports that the original scheme has become defunct and is to be replaced by a new membership scheme – at a date yet to be announced.
June 2013 The original Penarth Pier Pavilion Membership scheme was announced whilst the Pier Pavilion was still undergoing its £4,200,000 publicly-funded refurbishment.
July 2013 – 5 months before the re-opening, Pavilion leaseholders Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd began marketing membership of the scheme
- Penarth residents were invited to subscribe £35 per annum to become “members” of Penarth Pier Pavilion – a status which would entitle them to a range of special Pavilion-related benefits.
- The first 500 to enroll would have enhanced benefits conferred on them – and would become “Founder Members” – entitled to receive two free Pavilion Cinema tickets, plus free admission to “members’ screenings”, priority booking for special events , a “programme by post” service and a 10% discount in the Pavilion shop and bar.
- There were also extra “Founder Member” benefits including an extended period of membership (15 months for the price of 12, Limited edition tote bag, selection of postcards &remain a Founder Member for life if you joined in consecutive years.
October 2013 – 2 months before the Pavilion re-opened – all 500 Founder Memberships had been sold .
December 2013 Ordinary Memberships of the Penarth Pier Pavilion were being marketed over the counter at the newly-opened pavilion.
Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd said at the time that the funds raised would be used as “working capital” to pump-prime the future-events programme.
The then Pavilion Director Dr David Trotman said he had “no doubt” that the Pavilion would become self-sustaining as a social enterprise – providing not only support for local charities and educational initiatives but also becoming a ‘People’s Pavilion’ – an entertainment and arts venue for everyone.
….However, things haven’t quite worked out like that – and not, it seems, for the paid-up “Members” of the Pavilion itself .
- The cost of membership was increased to £40 per annum
- Some local “Pavilion members” claim they have not received the benefits they were promised.
- When the time came to renew annual membership payments some members complained they had not received any renewal notice .
- Some who had already paid for renewal, say they received requests for a second payment .
- Volunteers dealt initially with the paperwork but then passed these to office staff who seemed not to deal with the forms with much urgency and, its alleged, no one seemed to take responsibililty for managing the scheme.
- As time wore on, one subscriber said he had carried on paying his annual membership – but was never told that the original membership scheme seemed to have run into the sand .
- In February this year a member trying to establish the status of the scheme – and when their next subscription was due – was told that an “announcement will be made shortly” .
- At the end of February the Pavilion announced the closure of the Pavilion for three days out of every seven and the indefinite closure of the Pavilion Cinema – thus changing the whole basis of “membership” and curtailing the “benefits” originally promised.
Despite the closure of the Pavilion Cinema, anyone Googling the Penarth Pier Pavilion will find its website is still inviting people to sign-up on line for “membership” at £40 a time. [See http://www.penarthpavilion.co.uk/support-us/membership ] . The website promises them: –
- “Special Free Member’s Screenings”,
- “2 complimentary Cinema Tickets” and
- a “bi-monthly Cinema and Events Programme”
Clearly such promises are now impossible for the Penarth Pier Pavilion to fulfil – because the Pavilion Cinema was closed indefinitely on March 6th this year.
Members enquiring now – in May – about status the membership scheme are continuing to receive essentially the same answer – “wait for the new membership scheme”.
However members say that now that the Pavilion is closed for 43% of the time – and the Pavilion Cinema has been shut-down indefinitely – there appears to be little reason for anyone to consider signing-up for any new replacement Pavilion Membership Scheme – the details of which have yet to be announced.