Arts charity to close - six months after its boss mysteriously quit

Joseph Ballard. Picture: ALEX HURRELL

Joseph Ballard. Picture: ALEX HURRELL - Credit: Archant

A north Norfolk arts charity is set to close, just six months after its chief executive quit in mysterious circumstances.

Arts North Norfolk was set up three years ago and operated from the former Dragonfly women's fashion shop in the Market Place, North Walsham.

It offered events including music, drama, cinema, art and children's creative classes at many venues, including the town's Atrium community arts building, adjoining North Walsham High School, where it staged such successful events as a concert by Manchester Camerata, and a very popular matinee screening of Bridget Jones' Baby.

In a post on its Facebook page, ANN claimed its former CEO Joseph Ballard, who quit in September 2016, told them that grants for applications 'were being considered favourably', while they 'had never actually been made'. They also alleged that following his resignation, 'other administrative and management issues were discovered'.

Mr Ballard did not explain why he was quitting last September, but he said today: 'It is unfortunate, but I do think the current behaviour of the trustees is showing their true colours. People who know me know I will always put values first and understand why I, and all the volunteers who left at the same time, did not want to continue working for people like them.

'I'm very proud of what myself, the volunteers and the community had achieved. North Walsham can and will continue to build upon those fantastic moments we created.'

The Trustees of The Atrium North Norfolk Ltd, which operated as ANN, said on social media that members had voted unanimously to close the charity.

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It said in a statement: 'It was with great sadness that we, the company directors (trustees), determined this to be our only viable and appropriate course of action given the financial and organisational uncertainty and outlook.

'Following the sudden resignation of our CEO, ... , we have worked extremely hard to sustain the charity in difficult circumstances with increasingly limited financial and human resources. The enormity of the task has been overwhelming – both emotionally and practically – and the obstacles are now, in our considered opinion, insurmountable.'