Lancaster venue management company ceases trading as charity owners work to re-open popular community centre
The Gregson Centre closed to the public on March 20 following the coronavirus lockdown and the venue is now working on a new business plan to re-open.
The financial impact of the temporary closure has meant that the Gregson Arts and Community Centre Ltd (GACCL) has been unable to continue trading, and the Gregson Community Association (GCA) has now taken over the direct running of the Moor Lane venue.
Katherine Bevington, secretary to the board of the GCA said: "The Covid-19 crisis has had a serious impact on the Gregson Centre.
"The doors to the centre were closed to the public on March 20 and staff were subsequently furloughed.
"The financial impact of this temporary closure has meant that the company that manages the Gregson Centre led by Di Cuming and Gill Fenna is sadly no longer able to continue trading through these difficult times.
"The Gregson Community Association would like to thank GACCL and all of their great staff for all of the work they have done over the past three years.
"This included opening the kitchen and organising a new food offer, and ensuring that the Gregson is a welcoming community centre with a lively arts culture that truly reflects all that is great about Lancaster.
"The Gregson Community Association would also like to thank GACCL for holding the fort and keeping the essential bills paid while the GCA, as a charity, has worked hard to develop a new business plan and structure to ensure that the Gregson Centre can reopen for the community.
"This has been a very complicated matter: working out the details has taken considerable time and effort for both organisations."
The GCA said it has been successful in applying to Charitable Trusts to support the new business plan for the charity, so that when the Gregson Centre does re-open it can offer the activities and the projects that the community wants and needs as it gets used to the new landscape.
Katherine added: "In particular, we greatly appreciate the help that GACCL have given in securing a large donation.
"In the last few weeks we have had lots of enquiries regarding the Gregson Centre: Why isn’t it open? When the bar and café will re-open?
"When will classes and other activities commence?
"We have not been able to answer these questions as we have been working hard ‘behind the scenes’ to work out the best way forward.
The charity has taken the decision to run the centre directly and gradually build up our own team.
"We thank everyone for your patience and for all the kind support we have received while we have been developing a way forward with GACCL.
"It has really meant a lot and made a difference in very challenging times."