Clifton Community Arts Centre | Good Finance

The Clifton Community Arts Centre

The Clifton Community Arts Centre Ltd (CCAC Ltd), trading as Wellington Orbit, is a social enterprise based in Telford. They took on approximately £75,000 in SITR loans and shares from local people. Here's how social investment is helping them provide art and cultural facilities in the town of Wellington, Shropshire.

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Duration 
5 years
Cost of capital 
2.25%
Turnover 
£18,000 (low for first year due to building development)
Amount invested 
£75,000
Product 
Unsecured loan (incl. overdrafts)
Blended – part grant, part loan
Social Investment Tax Relief
Community shares

Challenge

We are seeking to tackle the lack of art and cultural facilities in the town of Wellington, Shropshire. The town is part of the borough of Telford and Wrekin and has the historical infrastructure for the region but has suffered decline in the 50 years since the creation of the New Town of Telford. We are contributing to a plan to regenerate the town.

Solution

We are converting a vacant bank building in the town into a community arts centre to include a 63 seat cinema, a café/bar and various multi purpose rooms for art galleries, exhibition areas, meeting rooms, training rooms, dance studio and rehearsal rooms. We will also reduce social isolation by offering numerous volunteering opportunities. The building is situated in the heart of the town and has excellent transport links. While the town itself has a population of 26,500 the immediate catchment area is 80,000 and the borough has a population of 169,000. Our audience surveys would suggest that even now many people come from elsewhere in the borough into the town and we expect our building to escalate this habit with attendant economic benefits to the town as a whole.

Revenue Model

We will be providing arts and cultural facilities for the community. Most of our income will come from the cinema and café/bar with the paying customer being the local individuals but facilities will be provided for businesses as well. 

Broadly we have £170k in grants with most from Telford & Wrekin Council, £70k in SITR loans, £40k in shares (around £5k through SITR) £50k in a legacy, & c£30k in retained profits and other income. 

We have a five year underlease on a vacant bank building where HSBC are the tenant. Their tenancy expires in 2023. Our immediate funding requirement is to fit out the building. Long term, we hope to buy the freehold or get an extended lease. The landlord has confirmed that he has no intention of evicting us at the end of the lease. He has faith in our project and sees a collaborative approach as the best way to enhance the value of his asset.

Impact

The money has enabled us to lease the building and to carry out a substantial amount of the development work. We anticipate we will need a further 150k – 250k to finance the completion of the work  and we see SITR as our preferred way to raise the additional funds.

By creating an arts and events we’ll upskill individuals by offering a gamut of volunteering opportunities. We’ll be creating events to specifically embrace those who experience social isolation. These will foster interactions that will increase wellbeing and become support in the form of friendships and peer support. We’ll also sustain the local economy by using local food and drinks suppliers, as well as local businesses for our ongoing building maintenance. Our centre will attract new customers into the town. Culturally we want to address societal challenges by building a community who are receptive to cultural differences while seeking to empower the community.

Sophie Eades, Chief Officer

Wellington, as a town, had been consumed by Telford and had lost its identity and heart, and I felt the Orbit with its facilities and the philosophy of the board of directors would bring the heart, soul and community spirit back to our special town. I then heard about the SITR scheme which let me to financially support the project, while also giving me a tax benefit – a win-win for all concerned! The paperwork was easy and HMRC dealt with the rest. Now I see the project growing daily in the knowledge I've helped in some small way

Glenn Chard, Investor