Arts and Leisure

Ealing Arts Centre presents business plan

Ealing Arts Centre Ltd presented the business plan for its project to transform the Town Hall into an Arts and Leisure Centre to Ealing Council's Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 30 September. The Executive summary of the plan is below.

The Committee decided not to recommend the plan to Ealing's Cabinet, but to refer it to a sub-committee to examine some questions further. The full papers for the OSC meeting can be found on the Council web site.

Ealing Arts Centre's (EAC) central goal is to set up a vibrant arts centre at Ealing Town Hall, whilst the building maintains its principal civic function. Reports commissioned by Ealing Council and other independent organisations have documented the dearth of cultural and art facilities in central Ealing. The proposed Town Hall arts centre shall provide a comprehensive range of affordable, adequate and accessible artistic facilities and services for the benefit of those who live, work and visit the borough.

EAC is already registered as a company limited by guarantee and is in the process of becoming a charity. Its founding trustees are long term Ealing residents with extensive professional, business, artistic and community development competence and experience. They have successfully mobilised initial resources to develop the project plan and create meaningful partnerships with potential clients and project collaborators.

The arts centre is to be developed in three major phases. This business plan concentrates on the feasibility and viability of Phase One, comprising setting up of: Arts, Craft & Dance Studio; Café Gallery; and Music Studio & Multi-Purpose Hall. Phase One requires EAC accessing about 750 square metres of space at the Town Hall - that being less than ten percent of the space in the building. The Council will continue to use the building for civic purposes and also to rent out rooms and halls for general, community and corporate functions. Phase One needs capital investment of £656,200 to transform the spaces into high quality facilities - which are then hired on a flexible basis to a wide and diverse range of individuals, groups and organisations.

EAC has undertaken an exhaustive programme of consultation with stakeholders and potential clients and partners. This was supplemented with structured market research and business analyses. In order to demonstrate the level of demand for facilities and services, a 'pre-booking schedule' was set up to 'pre-book clients' for usage of the dance and arts studios. Just through accessing the cultural network (without any marketing exercise), 60% of the capacity of the dance studio (and 30% of the arts studio) has already been pre-booked for a period of six months. This proof of demand is reinforced by formal letters of support from major partners such as Thames Valley University and Tech Music School. These major local partners are interested in making block bookings for the spaces and facilities of the arts centre.

The budgets indicate that EAC shall be profitable in the second year of operations. After meeting all of its direct and indirect costs, (including making a proportionate contribution of £80,000 to the running costs of the Town Hall) EAC shall make a relatively small loss of £11,000 in the first year. The original loss shall become surpluses of £50,000 and £110,000 in years two and three respectively.

30 Sept 2010