Bromsgrove’s Artrix arts centre has ceased trading from today after being forced to close its doors because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The charity has been in talks with senior officers from Bromsgrove District Council, which leases the building to the charity, since last year, looking at options to secure financial investment.
But the impact of the recent COVID-19 pandemic on the fragile recovery of Artrix, means the arts centre must cease trading – or risk trading illegally.
Angela Galvin, Director of Artrix said: “This is devastating news for the whole amazing Artrix family – our small but mighty team of paid staff who are losing the jobs to which they have dedicated themselves with such passion and vigour for so long, and our wonderful volunteers who have given thousands of hours to supporting our work, because they believe in what Artrix stands for. We thank our staff and volunteers for everything. Our hearts also go out to those who have bought tickets and made donations, the social and family groups, the carers, the artists, the workshop leaders and participants, and the local businesses who are part of the Artrix family and who will all feel the impact of our closure. Over the past 15 years we have shown there is a need for an arts centre in Bromsgrove, the need is still there, the goodwill is still there. We sincerely believe that when this extraordinary situation is over an arts centre for Bromsgrove will rise again.”
Full statement from the Trustees:
The trustee board of Artrix has been closely monitoring the charity’s finances since April 2018, when our funding model changed significantly.
Through a series of changes to our structure and business, with the tremendous hard work of our team and loyalty of our community, we managed to work through the first year without grant funding, and watched our income from other sources grow to a point where the prospect of survival and development became a reality.
In recent months we have been in positive dialogue with Bromsgrove District Council about our lease, and the possibility of future financial investment.
This fragile recovery has been cut off by COVID-19.
On Government recommendation we closed our building on 16 March. Our daily income dropped to zero from 17 March. Our outgoings have not.
We have been unable to access Government support in the form of grants or loans as we do not meet the eligibility criteria.
We, like many other venues, have been unable to claim against our business interruption insurance because insurers are not recognising COVID-19 on their list of notifiable diseases.
18 of team Artrix are now on furlough through the Government’s Job Retention Scheme.
The remaining 4 salaried staff have been holding the fort on finance, rescheduling the programme and dealing with emails to box office.
The cost of mothballing the business on a skeleton staff together with building overheads is almost £10,000 a month.
With no income since 16 March, and no certainty of returning to normal ticket sales and catering income for at least 6 months, our assets do not cover our liabilities and we are therefore technically insolvent.
The trustees have taken advice from the Charity Commission and an insolvency specialist. Following this advice the trustees reluctantly conclude that Bromsgrove Arts Centre Trust – Artrix
– must cease trading immediately or risk trading illegally.
We as individuals will stand down on the appointment of a liquidator. But Artrix will return when this is all over, we are sure of that.