Havant arts venue The Spring set to reopen with new exhibition thanks to grant from Arts Council

Sophie Fullerlove, director of The Spring Arts and Heritage Centre in HavantSophie Fullerlove, director of The Spring Arts and Heritage Centre in Havant
Sophie Fullerlove, director of The Spring Arts and Heritage Centre in Havant
EMERGENCY funding has proven a ‘game-changer’ for an arts centre which can now look forward to welcoming guests when it reopens.

Set to begin its phased return next month, The Spring Arts and Heritage Centre in Havant will see its first visitors in months as it opens its doors with a new exhibition of lockdown works from two Emsworth artists.

Sophie Fullerlove, director and chief executive of the East Street venue, said the museum is opening thanks to a £43,000 grant from the Arts Council emergency fund.

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Sophie said: ‘The great thing is that we will definitely survive for the rest of the financial year at least. We have managed to secure a £43,000 grant from the Arts Council emergency fund. It has been a game-changer for us.

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‘It means that we have money in the bank at the end of September which wasn’t looking likely to be the case. We will be able to meet our liabilities, pay our bills and pay our staff.

‘We have also managed to raise some other funds and still our wonderful audiences are helping us. The amount from them (in refunds not reclaimed) is totalling about £7,000. And it is all beginning to add up which is brilliant for us.’

The cafe will also be opening as part of the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme.

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No events will be going ahead at the centre in August, as the phased reopening will be about having the exhibition and getting people used to being back with the centre again, before looking at events for September - with the centre’s 137 capacity down to just 30 with social distancing.

Looking to the future, Sophie said: ‘We will take it slowly and see how it goes. I do think people want to be part of their community again.

People want to have a good time and feel connected. They are wanting to have moments of joy and feel that the recovery is happening, but we need to be mindful that for a lot of people, they just don’t feel ready yet.’

An official opening day is yet to be announced, but The Spring is set to reopen in August.

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