Questions are now being asked about the original Penarth Pier Pavilion “membership scheme” – launched in 2013 – which now appears to have become defunct .

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.

The original membership scheme was launched in June 2013 – before the restoration of the Pier Pavilion was completed.

July 20135 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 20132 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.

Former Penarth Pavilion Director Dr David Trotman on the 2nd floor balcony of the Pavilion

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 the Penarth Pier Pavilion website continues to invite people to sign up on line for “membership” at £40 a time – and promises them free cinema “screenings”

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.

A 2013 artist’s impression of the refurbished Penarth Pier Pavilion

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.


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  1. Louise says:

    As a founder member I can honestly say this was a total shambles. We joined up initially and never heard anything again! How difficult can it be to keep a membership database and send out annual reminders for its renewal? I’ve no doubt there were plenty of skilled and willing volunteers capable of dealing with this simple admin task. The pavilion would at least then have a guaranteed annual membership income. Shameful.

    • Local Eye says:

      Well said and goes to the heart of the matter. It is both complacent and amateurish to not look after your customers and if it wasn`t for the £4.2 million at risk here then they would have been a bankrupt business. Owe £4200 and you get taken to court, owe £4.2 million
      and you get bailed out.

    • Ann Other says:

      I agree entirely. The failure to maintain this very simple system was also a sign that things were wrong and that no-one there was able to run the simplest of admin operations … let alone the more complex planning and monitoring that they needed to do. If the same people are involved, would recommend that anyone considering parting with their hard-earned money should ask for very clear assurances about how this attempt to maintain a primary-school level administrative system would differ from the previous one.

    • Philip Rapier says:

      Too proud to ask the wealth of talent available from the Community Arts Practitioners in Penarth free of charge. That’s the problem


      The attitude is unless it is expensive and from outside the Town Boundary we won’t do it.
      Sadly this means a multi million pound resource is going to waste.
      Where is the Art!!?? Painting Classes.- Drama -Pop Music.

      Fundraising Idea FREE OF CHARGE

      Let’s relaunch by presenting a Community Drama of the Pavillion’s choice.
      I would be delighted to assist.
      Volunteer Actors RECRUITED FROM THE COMMUNITY (in the Shopping Centre) and all proceeds to the Pavillion.
      All it takes is a little imagination and the Community is involved and generating income for the Project.
      In the meantime we must rely on a Parish Hall programme of activity which I respectfully wish to be greatly enjoyable for the participants.
      Here is this months programme which of course has a great deal of merit but are really equally suited to the Paget Rooms and does not need to be in the Pavillion

      Tai Chi for Health-
      May 10, 2017
      The Pavilion are delighted to be teaming up with the Age Cymru ‘Tai Chi for Health’ classes, helping to improve balance, core strength and encouraging improvement to general wellbeing.
      The Big Quiz on All Things
      May 11, 2017
      Following a year of marvelous Film & Television Quizzes we’re evidently suffering from delusions of grandeur and with giddy anticipation welcome you to our first General Knowledge Quiz.
      Pavilion Kids’ Art Club
      May 11, 2017
      4.15pm – 5.15pm
      An hour of creative fun for 5-11 year olds on Thursday afternoon after school
      Pavilion Tea Dance
      May 14, 2017
      A special afternoon of Ballroom, Latin and Sequence dancing led by Alan Taylor!
      Vale of Glamorgan Music Festival – Apollon Musagète Quartet
      May 24, 2017
      Penarth Pavilion are delighted to welcome Vale of Glamorgan Music Festival to the pier with a concert with Apollon Musagète Quartet
      Pavilion Film & Television Birthday Bash Quiz
      May 31, 2017
      Film fans, television aficionados, it’s time to rejoice. Happy Birthday to us, we’re a whole year old.

      • 92 and a social butterfly says:

        ..a pop up proscenium arch open the pier required me thinks Mr Rapier.

      • 92 and a social butterfly says:

        ..a pop up proscenium arch upon the pier required me thinks Mr Rapier

      • Philip Rapier says:

        Curiously the technical name for this performance method if used in the Pier Pavillion by National Theatre Wales and others would be known in the Theatre World as a PROMENADE PRODUCTION.
        Methinks I have my first voulunteer Actor below. OK let’s go for it then.

        Job Opportunity to star at the end of the Pier

        Community Actors Wanted for Promenade Shakespeare Production on Penarth Pier
        Age range 18 to 95.
        Experience not necessary in fact preferably none whatsoever since leaving full time education.
        Play to be performed to be decided demcratically by volunteer Actors.
        Obviously “Comedy of Errors” and “All’s Well that Ends Well” may suit.
        Apply via PDN

      • Aled Thomas says:

        I think that there is a wealth of ideas here presented by Philip Rapier.
        Maybe you should be appointed the new Manager of the Pier Pavilion.

  2. 92 and a social butterfly says:

    ..and that is what becomes of an organisation that looses interest in their customers. It is good business to realise that your most valuable assets are your customers and their loyalty will serve you well. I believe many founder members signed up to support the pier and to be a part of its rebirth, the attitude seems to have been that they could go out with the tide.
    If the objective is to build a People’s Pavilion then respect for people needs to be at the heart of the project,

    • Peter Church says:

      “..and that is what becomes of an organisation that looses interest in their customers”
      One thing you don’t want to do is “Loose” your customers, hold on to them tightly 🙂

  3. Peter Church says:

    Anyone heard from the elusive Mr Tony Hazel who seems to keeping a lower profile than the scouse UKIP leader.

  4. Anne Greagsby says:

    No matter how laudable a membership scheme or fundraising, until PACL open their books to public scrutiny and have new management my personal view is that I wouldn’t trust them with a penny.

    • Aled Thomas says:

      I agree with that, Anne.
      After restructuring the group, PACL, they should definitely consider making a National Theatre of Penarth styled venue.
      Philip Rapier’s comment was very plaudible.


      • Frank Evans says:

        Aled of course you agree with Anne. Did you not both stand together for Plaid and both lost?
        PS are there any copies of the fantastic tree video you both did still available.😅

  5. snoggerdog says:

    you pays your money & you———– um———um ??????

  6. Tim Hughes says:

    Both Jan and I were founder members and renewed our membership for the second year. There were a couple of false starts but we were always well treated. Attended the cinema 30+ times in each year and really enjoyed both the selection of films and the overall experience. On two occasions we were the only members of the audience but perhaps a 3+ hours Turkish language film was a bit too much for Penarth. We sadly miss our fortnightly visit but am not sure that old Penarth really embraces the Chapter like experience. In the longer term the new younger Penarth residents will make this venue a success.

    • andrewsketty says:

      Hello Tim. I think you selling Penarth short here and playing into the hands of PACL who are trying to excuse the cinema closure on our lack of support rather than their complete mismanagement of our cinema. I too regularly attended screenings and they were generally full/almost full houses. Of course there were some less popular films and that is to be expected. It is only proper that in a publicly funded cinema there is a mixture of the blockbusters and the more art house films and budgets and revenue predictions would account for that. The excellence of the monthly programme was down to PACL being a client of ICO until they stopped paying their bills. If the Turkish film you mentioned was the one about the group of sisters who went to live with their strict grandparents I saw that too but obviously on another day as yes the auditorium was by no means full but there were certainly many more than myself and 2 friends there – but only to be expected I suppose considering it was in Turkish with English subtitles.

      Penarth needs and values its cinema as it stands and young and old value it even though many people did not know it was there due to complete lack of marketing by PACL

      Sadly both myself and others firmly believe that PACL has no intention of reopening our cinema, They are not fit for purpose to run our pavilion

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