Arts & Leisure

Arts & Leisure Centre: latest progress

The project for an Arts and Leisure Centre in Ealing Town Hall has moved forward a further stage, with the establishment of a new social enterprise company, Ealing Arts Centre, which will be responsible its operation.

Below are details from Ealing Arts + Leisure about the aims for the new Centre.

The project by Ealing Arts + Leisure to convert the larger part of Ealing Town Hall into our Arts Centre has already received wide support from residents as well as from the three political parties on the Council.

The Council has agreed, in principle, to make available spaces within the Town Hall for a dance studio, an art studio and for music rehearsal and recording studios. These projects will form Stage 1 of the overall Arts Centre. Also in this Stage 1 we are proposing re-styling the reception area and introducing a café - an essential ingredient of any arts centre! EA+L has put in a bid to the Council for financial support to establish these projects.

For the moment, current lettings and internal uses of halls will continue to be run by the Council's Events & Hospitality Team. We will also be encouraging arts and cultural events in the larger halls. Ideas are already reaching us about a Winter Jazz festival and a Christmas pantomime.

Our overall vision is for the eventual use of some 70% of the building as an Arts Centre. The Councillors will continue to use the East end of the Town Hall, with the Council Chamber, offices and marriage suite.

Stage 2 will bring on stream small to medium-sized rooms which will be available for local arts, clubs and societies, for tuition and meetings and as craft and activity rooms, providing activities attractive enough for young people and adults alike.

Stage 3 will include work to improve the Victoria and Queens Halls, allowing their use to embrace music, dance and drama events in addition to present uses. Drama, dance and music companies have already approached us with a view to setting up residency in the Arts Centre.

The Council has already provided a £10k grant towards the writing of our formal business plan, which has now been presented. The formalities of leasing, programming etc. will now be finalized. This business plan has been prepared by G K Partners ( who have advised many charities on similar projects and who have given operational advice on staffing, fund-raising, etc. GK Partners will seek financial contributions from the London Development Agency and the Learning Skills Council. They will also guide the new charitable company which will undertake the setting up and administration of the Arts Centre; once this governance exercise is complete we will be able to make formal application for further grants from funding charities.

John Hummerston & Ann Pavett
Ealing Arts + Leisure

September 2010