Call out to help Caistor centre survive and thrive

A new vision has been set out for the future of one of Caistor’s star properties.

Caistor Arts and Heritage Centre EMN-210325-130809001

Caistor Arts and Heritage was thrust into the TV spotlight when it featured on the BBC’s Village SOS series of programmes, fronted by broadcaster and property expert Sarah Beeny.

The programme saw the conversion of the disused Methodist Chapel funded by a Big Lottery grant.

A decade on, the centre houses the town’s library, together with a cafe and exhibition space.

Now, the board of directors, all volunteers, who run the centre are looking to make sure it is still there for years to come by encouraging more members of the community to get involved.

Chairman David Jackson said: “Whilst there is a broad range of experience in the current board, we would welcome expressions of interest from anyone who would like to help with the strategic direction of the centre.

“We would also be very keen to hear from anyone who would like to become involved with the organisation of centre activities.”

The centre needs to be self funding and so generating income is key.

Mr Jackson continued: “The centre has substantial pluses: we have a wonderful building, which is a great asset for Caistor; we have a large team of volunteers, who give hundreds of hours of commitment; we ‘live’ in the building rent and rate free, and we have financial support from the friends and charity shop.

“However, we have to accept that we must design and operate a business model which is financially sound.”

Mr Jackson would like to revitalise the heritage offering at the centre and make it a major part of the attraction, as well as seeing better use of Caistor being a ‘Gateway to the Wolds’.

A tourism hub project had been in the pipeline a few years ago, but was never developed.

While, the centre has always stocked tourism leaflets, Mr Jackson feels the use of digital systems to provide interactive current information should be the aim.

The vision being laid out would progress this project, as well as upgrading the cafe facilities.

Mr Jackson described the cafe as the ‘beating heart’ of Caistor Arts and Heritage Centre . He continued: “The centre would seem soulless without it, however for a variety of reasons, it has never fully covered its operating costs.

“This is not a reflection on the staff, but is linked to practical constraints and clear management objectives.”

So, that is the way forward and Mr Jackson would like to hear from anyone who wants to be involved in any way.

Email him on [email protected]