‘Tears and laughter’ as Worthing arts centre announces its closure

W38071H13-StPaulsCentre''GV of St Pauls Centre, Chapel Road, Worthing.
W38071H13-StPaulsCentre''GV of St Pauls Centre, Chapel Road, Worthing.

STAFF are said to be ‘disappointed’ following the shock announcement that St Paul’s Arts Centre will close just before Christmas.

In a statement from chairman Doug Miles and general manager Ed Kilroy of St Paul’s Arts Centre, the two confirmed last week that the building will close on December 19 due to the Trust disbanding.

“What a crying shame its current era is over, who knows what could’ve been next,” said Mr Kilroy.

In the last six years, the arts centre has been a talent hub to showcase local artists and host performances by major artists.

In the statement, it was revealed that the centre’s financial limitations were ‘hindering the building’s safeguarding’ and as a result the ‘current charity’s objectives could not be met in 2016’.

Staff were said to have shared ‘tears and laughter’ after they were informed of the sad news.

Mr Kilroy said: “What was a true testament was the way they took the news.

“Everyone pulled together to support one another and amongst some tears there was laughter and positivity.

“It’s the people who work here and support St Paul’s that have made it what it is today.

“We’re more like a family. Sometimes people assume it’s family run as we’re so strongly knitted together.”

Despite the centre’s financial hardships, Mr Kilroy said it was not due to a lack of interest by the community.

In fact, he said it had become increasingly popular and the on site café attracted many customers.

“The first year I was here, the space was rather quiet, but it’s become very well used in recent times,” he said.

But maintaining an historic Grade II listed building has not proven an easy task.

He said: “Ask yourself how much money it might take to maintain a building over 200 years old that has had literally countless people walk through its doors over the years and perhaps the financial difficulties might dawn on you.”

Over the years, the centre has been host to the likes of Ginger Baker, Nik Kershaw, Chris Difford, Ocean Colour Scene, Lloyd Cole, Ian Mcculloch and Arthur Brown.

However, there is a glimmer of hope as Mr Kilroy and Mr Miles state the future of the centre is ‘bright’.

The statement reads: “It has been decided, in the venue’s best long-term interests, to close its doors ready for the next chapter.

“We may soon be able to shed more light on what is coming next.”

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