The Trustees have announced a partial closure of the Centre effective from 12th June 2023. From this date regular activities and classes will not be taking place.
The cafe, art studios, Thursday Morning Market and takeaway nights, and the Bowling Club, will continue to operate as usual.
Please note that the following WILL take place as planned:
- Wick-Flix in May & June
- First Thursday author events in May & June
- Swing From Paris, Fri 19th May
- An Audience with Brian Bilston, Sat 10th June
A message from the Trustees, 19th May 2023
Additional information regarding the decision to partially close The Painswick Centre from 12th June 2023
The decision to partially close
We know that everyone has been shocked by the partial closure of The Painswick Centre. We acknowledge that the notice period has been very short and has undoubtedly caused difficulties for many users of the Painswick Centre and we are deeply sorry for this. We took the decision extremely seriously, however once the realities of the financial situation became clear, rapid action was necessary to stop hemorrhaging of funds. We made the decision to partially stop operations in line with guidance published by the Charity Commission (CC12), which outlines what Trustees are bound to do to attempt to avoid insolvency.
We recently undertook a detailed financial forecast exercise to help the Board understand the Centre’s exact position. The forecast showed that if the Centre continued to operate as it was currently, it would have suffered a loss of over £60,000 by the end of this year. Several further financial forecast scenarios were then run which confirmed that the Centre would slip into insolvency if immediate action was not taken. At this point the Trustees concluded that the current financial model was not viable and the only option available was a partial, immediate closure. Activities currently continuing are those which make a positive financial contribution to costs and are self-administering. All negative financial contribution activities or those requiring administrative input have had to be given notice.
The Centre still holds cash in reserve of c.£60,000, but this is not enough to cover current operational and maintenance costs, and would be completely exhausted within 7 months of continued operations. The partial closure has been actioned to safeguard as much of those cash reserves as possible to ensure a future for the Centre.
The financial situation
There has been recognition for a number of years amongst the Trustee body past and present that while the Centre’s income looks to have largely ‘washed its face’, it has not generated enough to adequately maintain the 116 year old building. As a result, vital investment into the building itself has been dictated by available funds rather than by what has actually been needed to properly maintain the building. This has resulted in a ‘sticking plaster’ approach, which unfortunately is no longer viable and in fact has stored up problems which now require immediate – and costly – action if the Centre were to remain fully operational.
The financial forecast included a conservative estimate of £40,000 needing to be spent this year on immediate repairs to simply keep the Centre’s doors open, including: a new boiler, guttering repairs and associated asbestos works, electrical supply problems, roof leaks, and drainage issues. In addition, a number of other unavoidable costs have arisen this year:
- Utility bills increasing from c.£7,000 per year to a projected £16,500 (this figure includes Government subsidy, which if removed will increase this forecast figure).
- Legal fees to change from an unincorporated charity to a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (which would allow the Centre to set up a commercial arm to undertake permanent trading); and to register the charity’s property with the Land Registry (a long-standing issue which dates back at least three decades).
- The cottage behind the Centre, which has traditionally brought in rental income, has significant structural damp issues and has recently been rendered uninhabitable. This will equate to a loss of income for the Centre of c.£5,000 for the remainder of this year, and an annual loss of income of at least £9,000 going forward until it is made habitable, with standing charges for utilities and Council Tax remaining payable.
At the time of going to press over 400 responses have been received to the survey about the future of the Centre, and so far the response is overwhelmingly to save the Centre, with plenty saying they will volunteer time, money or skills to help. This is extremely positive and heartening.
Those who have been involved over the past 5+ years have unanimously recognised that fundamental, large-scale change has been needed to the business model of the Centre; tweaking the current model will not be enough. The time for that change to happen is now. A new plan is needed that develops a long-term, relevant and sustainable future for The Painswick Centre in line with its charitable purpose.
A new board of Trustees is needed to step forward to develop that plan for the community, and in particular a new dynamic Chair is needed. That new board will also have the authority to convene one or more committees of volunteers to look at specific issues or tasks. The skills and experience needed across the board and any sub-committees will include:
- Business/Commercial Development & Strategy
- Buildings & Maintenance
- Boards & Governance
- H&S, Risk Assessments and Compliance
- HR & Staffing
- Project Management
- Secretarial & Record Keeping
A recruitment process is now open. Anyone interested in being involved in making change happen by either being a Trustee or sitting on a volunteer committee, or by offering pro bono skills and advice, please send an email to email@example.com by Friday 9thJune.
The remaining three trustees will continue to progress necessary actions for the time being. We are not permitted to resign at this point due to Charity Commission rules to maintain a quorum, however, all are prepared to step down once a new board headed by a new Chair has been properly elected according to the charity’s constitution.
Please note all figures included here have not yet been subject to independent examination.
Expenses (direct & indirect): £99,021
Profit/loss for the year: -£653
Jan – April 2023
Expenses (direct & indirect): £38,466
Profit/loss to date: -£6,923
Forecasts for full year 2023
Operating as is to year end: -£68,000
Full closure: -£27,000
Partial closure: -£23,000
What is The Painswick Centre?
The building now known as The Painswick Centre was given to the town well over 100 years ago thanks to the generosity of the wealthy Frances Sarah Williams. Originally called The Painswick Institute & Working Men’s Club (or The 'Stute as it was affectionately known for many decades), it was opened to great fanfare in September 1907, and provided somewhere the local community could mix together in large numbers, regardless of class or religion. The Institute was founded as a charity to be managed by Trustees, which is how it is still run today.
According to the original Deed of Trust, the
building was "for the general benefit, improvement, education, & advantage of the inhabitants"
of Painswick and the surrounding villages, and
"the Trustees shall not pay any regard to race,
religion, sect or creed."
Over the years the Institute was an extremely well used centre for many clubs, groups and community celebrations. After the acrimonious closure of the Working Men's Club in the late 1990s, the Institute was renamed as The Painswick Centre, and it has continued to strive to provide a wide range of recreational, educational and social opportunities for the community to enjoy, true to the original wishes of our founder Frances Sarah Williams.
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