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Cultural centre’s plea for help as lockdown takes it toll

PUBLISHED: 10:58 24 August 2020 | UPDATED: 11:20 24 August 2020

Simon Daykin, director of the Wells Maltings, which has launched a campaign to help secure its future following the coronavirus lockdown. Picture: Ian Burt

Simon Daykin, director of the Wells Maltings, which has launched a campaign to help secure its future following the coronavirus lockdown. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2018

The team at a cultural and community centre on the north Norfolk coast has launched a fundraising push in a campaign to secure its future amid coronavirus.

The Wells maltings. Picture: Supplied by the Maltings/Sarah Toon PhotographyThe Wells maltings. Picture: Supplied by the Maltings/Sarah Toon Photography

The Wells Maltings is aiming to raise £30,000 after being hit by months of closure during the lockdown, which meant it lost out on thousands of pounds of income and had to lay off several members of staff.

Simon Daykin, venue director, said: “We’ve come so far in our first 18 months, but the business is still very new.

“The pandemic hit the arts and heritage sector hard, and we have had to take tough decisions in order to survive. We have to remain bold, confident and ready to welcome our audiences again. Lockdown was challenging, but the real challenges are ahead.

“That’s why we seek support through our Crowdfunder campaign - to avert a future crisis and keep us going. We are thrilled with the support so far, and we are nearly there.”

Inside the Wells maltings. Picture: Supplied by the Maltings/Sarah Toon PhotographyInside the Wells maltings. Picture: Supplied by the Maltings/Sarah Toon Photography

The charity behind the Maltings launched the Crowdfunder campaign in late July, and with under two weeks to go they are two-thirds of the way to reaching their target.

After lockdown restrictions were first eased in July the Maltings’ cafe reopened, and it is taking another step forward by restarting its film, live music and visual arts programmes at the end of August.

Seating ‘bubbles’ will be created in the venue’s auditorium so family groups can sit together, while social distancing from others.

And the Maltings’ popular heritage centre, which is free to visit, is also open again.

'Twas the Night Before Christmas, which was performed at the Wells Maltings Theatre last year. Picture: David Greeves'Twas the Night Before Christmas, which was performed at the Wells Maltings Theatre last year. Picture: David Greeves

Mr Daykin said 75,000 people had come through the centre’s doors since it reopened, following an extensive refurbishment in 2018.

He said: “In that time people have enjoyed great theatre, great film, exhibitions, all sorts of wonderful things or even just to enjoy a great cup of coffee. It’s our stated aim to bring people together.

“But no matter how hard the past 100 days have been the next 100 are going to be even harder. Help us get back on our feet and join us for the adventure that is the Wells Maltings.”

To find out more or to contribute to the Crowdfunder campaign, visit www.wellsmaltings.org.uk/roadtorecovery.

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