Arts North Norfolk is to close the charity, it was announced today.
A statement from the trustees of The Atrium North Norfolk Ltd (Arts North Norfolk issued today said: “On Wednesday, February 23, at an extraordinary general meeting the company members present voted unanimously to close the charity.
“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. The decision was taken in accordance with the procedures set out in our Articles of Association. It was not taken lightly and is binding.”
The move has come after a turbulent time for the charity following the resignation of CEO Joseph Ballard in September 2016.
The trustees said in the statement: “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.”
There have been calls for the collective resignation of trustees. “Our response is that, with the charity in such financial crisis, we would have been (and would continue to be) in serious breach of our responsibilities to do so at any point since the AGM in December 2016, when we were (re)elected by a very solid majority,” the statement reported.
It went on: “We firmly believe that we have acted with complete integrity to perform our prescribed obligations as trustees and have remained utterly committed throughout to the fulfillment of ANN’s core charitable purposes. We have endeavoured to deliver on promises made; but we know that we have not always done so. To those people that we have let down, we extend our sincere apologies. We have, with the invaluable help of a few dedicated volunteers, tried our very best to maintain a programme of theatre and concerts at The Atrium.”
ANN has not held a Licence to Occupy The Atrium since January 2016 and thus has had no direct involvement in the management or hiring of the facilities since that time. As such, all booking enquiries should continue to be sent direct to firstname.lastname@example.org.
They thanked the school governors for their support and Suzie Sharpe, who manages bookings.
There are currently hopes to continue and develop the Atrium Cinema Club.
The closure of the charity could take up to six months. Once all our bills are paid, trustees will have to dispose of any remaining assets (cash and physical) in accordance with the Articles of Association i.e. to registered charities with the same or similar charitable objects.
“We are committed to finding the most efficient way to ensure that these assets remain for the continuation of The Atrium Cinema Club and for the development and delivery of arts and educational activities and events for the benefit of the communities of North Walsham and North Norfolk. The charity is closing but the work will live on,” said the statement.
Trustees chairman Katrina Cole said: “We have tried to continue with a very restricted and limited programme because that was all we had available in front of us. We have no money to programme for the future as there are no grants or other funds in place or applied for so we are in a completely untenable situation.”
The organisation had been waiting for the final payment of a grant from Arts Council England of around £7,000 which has already been spent on North Walsham Festival 2016.
Katrina added: “To find myself in a position where I am overseeing the closure of such a historically vibrant and achieving charity is an absolute tragedy but regrettably we are left with no choice. I am so sad and so very aggrieved that this should have come to being.”