Sadness at closure of Space 109 community arts centre

York Press: Space 109 manager Rebecca Rea, second right, with volunteers painting the building last year Space 109 manager Rebecca Rea, second right, with volunteers painting the building last year

A POPULAR community arts centre in York will close at the end of next month after losing out in an increasingly fierce competition for funding.

Space 109 in Walmgate has hosted a huge range of activities for local people, young and old – from children’s art sessions and stitchers’ get-togethers to residents’ association meetings – since it opened seven years ago.

But manager Rebecca Rea said like many charities it had to carry out a thorough review of its business model and structure, and as a result felt its role in providing services in the local community was unsustainable.

She said: “The organisation has struggled as competition for funding has become increasingly fierce.”

She said that she and the board of trustees were all relatively new and had inherited Space 109 at a time when it was already unable to make ends meet.

“Though we hoped to find a way of recovering and have carefully considered a number of options, we have concluded that Space 109 is no longer viable,” she said.

“We are sorry that we won’t be around for those people who have come to enjoy our centre and we will endeavour wherever possible to help those people find suitable alternatives.” She thanked the centre’s “wonderful” volunteers, funders and current staff.

Centre users spoke yesterday of their sadness at the closure, and said they feared they would not be able to find an alternative venue.

Marjorie Stephenson said she had been going to the centre each week since it started as a member of a stitchers’ group, which does activities such as knitting and cross-stitching.

She said Space 109 was used by all sorts of other groups, including the local residents’ association, and was important for local youngsters. “I am very sad that it’s closing,” she said.

Barbara Lunn said she did art at the centre and did not know where she would go when it shut.

Comments (5)

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10:46am Wed 27 Feb 13

capt spaulding says...

Start looking around for some lifejackets you will soon be hopping aboard a barge (Floods permitting of course)
Start looking around for some lifejackets you will soon be hopping aboard a barge (Floods permitting of course) capt spaulding

2:08pm Wed 27 Feb 13

rodney'sdog says...

why not put some fund raisers on andmake it a proper comuunity centre. 3 or 4 big events would make a difference and increase pride in the venue..
why not put some fund raisers on andmake it a proper comuunity centre. 3 or 4 big events would make a difference and increase pride in the venue.. rodney'sdog

3:47pm Wed 27 Feb 13

Oaklands Resident says...

So where is the Cabinet member who has responsibility for cultural facilities then?

No comments to make?

As soon as bad news surfaces she disappears into a hole at the Minster it would seem.

What hope for arts barges if established venues like these can't pay their way.

....and a pretty poor show from the local Guildhall Ward Councillors. According to press reports at the time, they seemed to be very keen to share the glory when the facility first opened.
So where is the Cabinet member who has responsibility for cultural facilities then? No comments to make? As soon as bad news surfaces she disappears into a hole at the Minster it would seem. What hope for arts barges if established venues like these can't pay their way. ....and a pretty poor show from the local Guildhall Ward Councillors. According to press reports at the time, they seemed to be very keen to share the glory when the facility first opened. Oaklands Resident

5:51pm Wed 27 Feb 13

heworth.28 says...

Sadly given the size & location of the premises I see another Tesco Express opening
Sadly given the size & location of the premises I see another Tesco Express opening heworth.28

9:03pm Wed 27 Feb 13

RoseD says...

rodney'sdog wrote:
why not put some fund raisers on andmake it a proper comuunity centre. 3 or 4 big events would make a difference and increase pride in the venue..
Hah. We did a fund raiser a year ago (mind you, poetry on an incredibly stormy Sept night) and there have been others, but 50 to 100 quid here and there wont cut it! I am very sad to see Space 109 go. Gee so glad Cameron meant it when he said 'we're all in this together'. Not.

ps: plenty of pride in the venue, just not enough cash.
[quote][p][bold]rodney'sdog[/bold] wrote: why not put some fund raisers on andmake it a proper comuunity centre. 3 or 4 big events would make a difference and increase pride in the venue..[/p][/quote]Hah. We did a fund raiser a year ago (mind you, poetry on an incredibly stormy Sept night) and there have been others, but 50 to 100 quid here and there wont cut it! I am very sad to see Space 109 go. Gee so glad Cameron meant it when he said 'we're all in this together'. Not. ps: plenty of pride in the venue, just not enough cash. RoseD

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