DCC: Statement on the Scala

Denbighshire County Council has been made aware of the decision by the Board of the Scala Cinema and Arts Centre to close its doors to the public.

Councillor Huw Jones, Cabinet Lead Member for Tourism, Leisure and Youth, said: “We understand that efforts by the Board to secure a rescue package have been unsuccessful to date and that they are now making one final attempt at finding money to cover their debts.

“While this is sad news for the current company, the Council remains committed to the continuation of a cinema in Prestatyn, as we recognise its importance to the people of Prestatyn and its contribution to the local economy.

“Over recent years the Council has provided extensive support to the Scala company. Yet, despite this, their financial position has continued to deteriorate.

“The on-going uncertainty of the future of the company running the Scala has been of great cause for concern for some time and it looks as if the doors may be closed for a while. My worry is that this uncertainty may be damaging for the future planning for the cinema.

“If it turns out that the Scala Board’s final rescue attempt is unsuccessful, we will do our best to find an alternative provider”.

Source: Statement posted via Denbighshire County Council website 08.01.15

Rhyl Journal: Prestatyn’s Scala Cinema closes its doors but puts hope in new campaign

A PRESTATYN community cinema has shut its doors. 

A Rhyl Journal photo showing a demonstration protest outside the Prestatyn Scala cinema.
A Rhyl Journal photo showing a demonstration protest outside the Prestatyn Scala cinema.

Trust members of the Scala Cinema and Arts Centre confirmed that the venue closed this morning (Thursday) and will only re-open if funds are found.

Fears over the future of the cinema surfaced in October after Denbighshire County Council said it would be looking to end the cinema’s yearly £41,000 grant in April.

Further problems surfaced when it was revealed that the Scala was late with its November wages payment – putting the cinema three months in arrears.

Trust members have said that they intend to launch a final campaign to save the resource next week – more details are set to be revealed soon.

Trust Members have said that they “would be grateful to hear from local businesses or individuals who recognise its value and potential and are interested in becoming involved and associated with this respected venue.”

Rhiannon Hughes, Chair of the Scala Trust, said: “It is awfully sad. The building has been flooded already with people getting upset – the Scala is a massive part of the community.

“We haven’t given up hope though. The Trust had to close the Cinema and it will remain closed for now but we will be launching a final campaign next week and will aim to get the doors re-opened if we can.

“Now we have had to close the Cinema we hope that people will be more aware that we do need help. The Scala Trust is committed to re opening the Scala if at all possible but cannot do this on its own. Urgent assistance is required.

“I would like to thank the small team of staff who have worked so hard not only with the public but all the behind the scenes and the many unpaid hours worked to make the venue a success.

“I would also like to thank the many volunteers who have supported the staff in making this wonderful venue such a welcoming and friendly place to visit.”

Chris Bond, general manager, added:

“We would like to apologise to all our customers and community groups who will be inconvenienced by this closure. ”

“Whilst we are doing everything we can to secure the Scala’s long term future, this now looks very uncertain. We are all very proud of what has been achieved to date and sincerely hope this will be allowed to continue.”

The Scala opened in February 2009 with a remit from the Council for delivering an educational and community programme as well as being a cinema.

In a statement, councillor Paul Penlington said:

“We are meeting with county officers as a matter of urgency to find a way to open the Scala again as soon as possible.”

“Our town and county Councilors have worked hard to ensure other important facilities in Prestatyn are re-furbished and opened again so hopefully we can do it once more and find a way to keep a long standing landmark at the heart of our community that won’t place any additional financial burdens on our ratepayers.”

Councillor Huw Jones, Cabinet Lead Member for Tourism, Leisure and Youth, said:

“We understand that efforts by the Board to secure a rescue package have been unsuccessful to date and that they are now making one final attempt at finding money to cover their debts.”

“While this is sad news for the current company, the Council remains committed to the continuation of a cinema in Prestatyn, as we recognise its importance to the people of Prestatyn and its contribution to the local economy.”

“The on-going uncertainty of the future of the company running the Scala has been of great cause for concern for some time and it looks as if the doors may be closed for a while. My worry is that this uncertainty may be damaging for the future planning for the cinema.”

“If it turns out that the Scala Board’s final rescue attempt is unsuccessful, we will do our best to find an alternative provider.”

Source: Rhyl Journal News Article 08.01.15 by Suzanne Jordan

Daily Post: Prestatyn Scala’s business plan ‘was wrong from start’

Chair of trust says cinema was never properly funded, but hopes to reopen with Welsh Government support.

Scala Cinema, Prestatyn
Scala Cinema, Prestatyn (Credit: Daily Post)

The business plan behind the crisis-hit Scala cinema was wrong from the start, says a former board member.

The business plan behind the crisis-hit Scala cinema was wrong from the start, says a former board member.

As the Prestatyn cinema closed today amid “desperate” cash problems, Cllr Huw Jones, who is also Denbighshire’s lead member for tourism, leisure and youth, said those running the venue had failed to “capture the market”.

But the chair of the Scala says the centre never had sufficient financial support to get started, and hopes to have the doors open with Welsh Government help by the end of the month.

Supporters of the Scala made a last-ditch plea for help today in a “final attempt” to save it. The Scala Trust was told in October that it would be losing its funding from Denbighshire council this year.

Cllr Jones said: “I used to be on the Scala board years ago to try and help them turn things around, and when it was first opened I don’t think their business plan was right then.

“The people of Prestatyn have ben very supportive of it, but they haven’t captured the market right.

“It’s a very valuable asset to the town, and we are committed as Denbighshire County Council to keeping the place open.”

While the Scala Trust hope to continue running the cinema, Cllr Jones says the council is already looking at a possible future for the centre without the existing trust.

He said: “We bent over backwards to try to help them, but the business plan didn’t quite work out, did it?

“We’re pursuing other avenues to keep the provision open in Prestatyn.

“They’re still working on a rescue plan and hopefully that might work out, but it’s a bit of a sad situation.

“The ongoing uncertainty of the future of the company running the Scala has been of great cause for concern for some time, and it looks as if the doors may be closed for a while.

“My worry is that this uncertainty may be damaging for the future planning for the cinema.

“If it turns out that the Scala board’s final rescue attempt is unsuccessful, we will do our best to find an alternative provider.”

Rhiannon Wyn Hughes, who chairs the Scala Trust, said: “It’s never been properly funded since the building was built.

“Places need a bit of support at the beginning and that hasn’t been there. We’ve brought in a lot of funding, but it hasn’t been enough.

“We’ve made staff redundant this morning. There were only five left, but it’s very upsetting. They’ve all really committed to the place. There have been a lot of tears.

“We’ve closed the door, but that means the trust is still in control of the building, so we’ll spend two to three weeks trying to put together a financial package.

“We want to clear a lot of creditors and start with some money in the bank, which we haven’t really had before.

“We want to stop lurching from crisis to crisis, which we have done for the last six years. That’s not a way to run a business.”

Denbighshire County Council have loaned the Scala £80,000 on a long-term basis, given them a grant of £40,000 each year, and covered their wage bill for two months, although the grant was set to be withdrawn in April.

Ms Hughes said: “The council have taken all our money away, but the Welsh Government have been great. They’ve been working with us, and we’ve welcomed their support.

“We want to clear our debt to the council. We owe them this loan which we have five years to pay.

“The council have a lot to lose if we don’t reopen. £140,000 is a lot of public money, which is why we feel so strongly about reopening.

“There’s also £40,000 outstanding to other creditors, and we’ve tried to make sure individual traders are paid.”

Source: Daily Post News Article 08.01.15 by Josh Morris

BBC News Wales: Scala Cinema shuts doors amid uncertain future

A cinema and arts centre in Denbighshire has closed its doors and may not reopen unless funds are found to secure its future.

The Scala was given a £3.5m facelift when it reopened its doors in 2009 after closing in 2000. (Credit BBC)
The Scala was given a £3.5m facelift when it reopened its doors in 2009 after closing in 2000. (Credit BBC)

Last month bosses at the Scala in Prestatyn learned they would lose a £40,000 subsidy from next April.

It marked the end of a difficult year in which visitors numbers fell due to the summer weather and staff were cut.

The Scala was given a £3.5m facelift when it reopened its doors in 2009 after closing in 2000.

“Urgent assistance is required,” said Rhiannon Hughes, chair of the Scala Trust which helps to run the venue.

She said funding the running costs has always been an issue since it reopened six years with Denbighshire council as the building’s owner.

Five staff have been made redundant.

Scala supporters held a protest in December before the council cutbacks (Credit: BBC News)
Scala supporters held a protest in December before the council cutbacks (Credit: BBC News)

Councillor Huw Jones, cabinet lead member for tourism, leisure and youth, said the council was committed to keeping a cinema in the town and had repeatedly tried to help the trust.

Pressure mounted on the Scala in October when it struggled to meet a £20,000 credit agreement with the county council to cover staff wages.

It also gave the Scala a loan of £86,000 in 2010 without setting a repayment date.

In December, Denbighshire councillors agreed to £17m in funding cuts affecting council services and subsidies paid to groups, including the venue.

Source: BBC Wales News Article 08.01.15

 

Daily Post: Prestatyn Scala cinema to close today

Campaigners say they are still committed to reopening the digital cinema and arts centre.

Scala Cinema, Prestatyn
Scala Cinema, Prestatyn (Credit: Daily Post)

A last-ditch plea for help was made by supporters of a cinema who have had to shut it from today.

The final curtain is being drawn at the Scala cinema in Prestatyn by the Scala Trust who have made a final attempt to save it.

The Scala closed in 2000 but re-opened in February 2009 after a £3.5m facelift as Wales first all digital cinema and arts centre iand was a project to help regenerate Prestatyn.

It succeeded in bringing in between 80,000 and 100,000 people through its doors and on to Prestatyn High Street each year.

Trust chair Rhiannon Hughes the Scala was in desperate need of cash to restructure and appealed to local businesses or individuals to get involved to re-open it.

Mrs Hughes said: “The Scala Trust is committed to re opening the Scala if at all possible but cannot do this on its own. Urgent assistance is required. I would like to thank the small team of staff who have worked so hard not only with the public but all the behind the scenes and the many unpaid hours worked to make the venue a success. I would also like to thank the many volunteers who have supported the staff in making this wonderful venue such a welcoming and friendly place to visit.”

It received funding from Denbighshire County Council with a remit to deliver an educational and community programme as well as being a cinema.

This was recognised when the Scala won the prestigious Royal Institute Chartered Surveyors (RICS) International award for its community work bringing this award to Wales for the first time.

The Trust was told in October last year that it would be losing its funding from Denbighshire council this year.

As well as working at a local community level the Scala has delivered national programmes and worked internationally with young film makers and film providers world-wide.

General manager Chris Bond said: “We would like to apologise to all our customers and community groups who will be inconvenienced by this closure. While we are doing everything we can to secure the Scala’s long term future, this now looks very uncertain. We are all very proud of what has been achieved to date and sincerely hope this will be allowed to continue.”

Source: Daily Post News Article 08.01.15 by Hywel Trewyn. Video courtesy of Daily Post.

Rhyl Journal: Prestatyn Cinema screening classic film hopes for similar movie magic happy ending

It's a Wonderful Life Poster from 1946
It’s a Wonderful Life Poster from 1946

A COMMUNITY cinema spreading tidings of uncertainty is hoping for a movie magic happy ending.

Scala Cinema and Arts Centre, Prestatyn, will host its annual showing of Frank Capras It’s a Wonderful Life on Tuesday in the hope that it will strike a chord with cinemagoers with its portrayal of a small business on the verge of bankruptcy which is saved after the community rally round.

Fears over the future of the cinema surfaced in October after Denbighshire County Council said it would be looking to end the cinemas yearly £41,000 grant in April.

Further problems surface when it was revealed that the Scala was late with its November wages payment putting the cinema three months in arrears.

The Scala launched a desperate Save Our Scala appeal – which is to help the cinema raise £97,000.

Rhiannon Hughes, chair of the Scala Trust, last week confirmed the closure of Cinemas cafebar downstairs in order to make further savings. Volunteers plan to open the Saronies cafebar upstairs at certain times to provide drinks and snacks for customers.

Mrs Hughes said: “In terms of fundraising, we are talking to a number of businesses and organisations which will hope will help the Scala through this difficult patch.

Ann Jones, AM for the Vale of Clwyd, has helped link the Scala with officials and ministers at the Assembly and with the Wales Co-operative Centre and Chris Ruane, MP for the Vale of Clwyd, is supporting the Scala at a UK level with the British Film Institute.

Staff and volunteers at the Scala are working hard together at what is the busiest time of year. Its a Wonderful Life is a story about a small local business within a community which is in difficulty but is then saved when the community rallies around to support it.

Now that the Scala has lost its funding from Denbighshire County Council let us hope that the Scala can have a similar happy ending.”

The Scala launched it’s digital Christmas calendar earlier this month.

Activities have been held throughout December for families including Doctor Who Monsters and the Royal Ballet streamed live from the Royal Opera House.

It’s a Wonderful Life will be screened on Tuesday, December 23rd at 7pm. Tickets £7.50 full price, £5.70 student and £5.50 seniors and children. Booking in advanced is advised. Mince pies and mulled wine will be available from Saronie’s Cafe Bar on the first floor before and after the film.

Source: Rhyl Journal 19.12.14 article by Suzanne Jordan

Daily Post: Scala Cinema looks to Welsh Government for salvation

Closure threatened Prestatyn arts centre hopeful that ministers could save it from the axe

A crisis hit arts centre is looking to the Welsh Government to save it from closure.

Scala Cinema, Prestatyn
Scala Cinema, Prestatyn (Credit: Daily Post)

A statement from Prestatyn’s Scala Cinema trustees said:

“The Scala is in touch with the Assembly working with Ann Jones AM who has been speaking with ministers and civil servants who have responded positively.”

“The Assembly was the biggest contributor to the Scala building which was then seen as an important first step to the town’s recovery and regeneration.”

The people of Prestatyn have come out in support of Scala cinema after it was revealed it could close last month.

The beleaguered cinema and arts centre is under threat due to a loss of council funding. A desperate Save Our Scala appeal was launched to raise the £97,000 reportedly needed to keep the centre open in the long term with renowned celebrities also calling on the venue to be saved.

The Scala have also said this week that they will be “meeting various agencies and potential sponsors this week.

Source: Daily Post News Article 18.11.14 by Alex Hickley. Videos courtesy of Daily Post

Rhyl Journal: Prestatyn cinema to host Sci-Fi festival this weekend

A photo of Chris Bond outside the Prestatyn Scala Cinema (Credit Rhyl Journal).
Rhiannon Hughes and Chris Bond outside the Prestatyn Scala Cinema (Credit Rhyl Journal).

The Prestatyn Scala is hosting the BFI Sci-Fi: Days of Fear and Wonder Festival this weekend.

As part of a three-month celebration of film and television, the cinema will screen Metropolis, the 1953 version of War of the Worlds, The Day the Earth Caught Fire, Alien and Serenity over the weekend of November 8 and 9.

Chris Bond, general manager of the Scala, said:

“We are delighted to be working with the BFI and Hana Lewis Film Hub Wales to put on the Scala’s first scifi festival. We know there are many sci-fi fans in the town and we hope that they will come and enjoy the films and activities in the festival. If the festival is a success, we can make this festival an annual event. This is a superb chance to catch these films in digital quality and on the big screen.”

“We aren’t just having films, during the weekend we will be having quizzes, a display of sci-fi memorabilia, interval talks by special guest speakers and scifi costumes.”

Locally made short Turn On by Salt Poolfilms will also be screened during the festival.

All tickets are at a special price of £4.50, with £4 concessions, per screening.

For more information visit http://www.scalaprestatyn.co.uk or telephone 01745 850197.

Source: Rhyl Journal Article 06.11.14 by Matt Jones

Daily Post: Denbighshire Council says it can longer afford to pay Scala cinema’s wage bill without discussions

Management accused of keeping authority in dark over its financial position which it owes £60,000 in wage debts and £80,000 one-off loan.

Scala Cinema, Prestatyn
Scala Cinema, Prestatyn (Credit: Daily Post)

Council chiefs say they could stop paying a troubled cinemas wage bill if the management doesn’t discuss its financial position with them.

Denbighshire County Council says the Scala cinema and arts centre in Prestatyn owes the authority £60,000 in wage debts, as well as £80,000 of a one-off loan.

At present, the council administers the Scala’s payroll, and also provides them with two months leeway on their payroll payments, which amount to £20,000 a month. But the council says it cant continue to make up the shortfall if they don’t sit down to talk.

Councillor Huw Jones, cabinet lead member for leisure, said:

“Its very difficult, they’ve had meetings, but the only things I know about it I read in the Daily Post. Its frightening to be honest with you, because if we know the situation they’re in, why cant they ask what we can do, how we can help? At the end of the day, they’ve gone three months. I’m responsible for public money as a councillor, but surely, the third month will turn into the fourth month. What do I do next? Am I going to be the scrooge and say no? Because there’s Christmas coming, and we wont pay their wages, or will I breach my own rules? Unless they come back and explain the situation to us, we’re really in a quandary.”

The council owns the Scala building, but the centre is operated by a separate charitable organisation.

The organisations general manager Chris Bond was approached for comment but declined to do so.

Rebecca Maxwell, Denbighshire’s corporate director for economic and community ambition, said:

“The council cannot continue to put at risk large sums of money to underpin the Scala’s financial deficit. Clearly there’s a limit to how much we can continue to support an independent organisation and still provide best value for residents. We value the facility, but we cant afford to subsidise the company.”

Source: Daily Post 04.11.14 18:03 News article by Josh Harris

Rhyl Journal: Short term future of Prestatyn Scala Cinema secured

THE Prestatyn Scala Cinema and Arts Centre will remain open in the short-term following a make or break meeting of Trustees.

A Rhyl Journal photo showing a demonstration protest outside the Prestatyn Scala cinema.
A Rhyl Journal photo showing a demonstration protest outside the Prestatyn Scala cinema.

Rhiannon Hughes, chair of the Scala Trust, said the site was open and “looking forward to its sci-fi weekend” after a meeting was held on Monday.

Discussions are set to continue over sourcing extra funding and a campaign – Save Our Scala – to help the cinema raise £97,000, has been launched.

Fears over the future of the cinema surfaced last week after Denbighshire County Council said it would be looking to end the cinema’s yearly £41,000 grant in April.

It was later revealed the Scala was facing more immediate problems after it notified the council that it would be late with its November wages payment – putting the cinema three months in arrears.

A public meeting, scheduled for Friday, has been postponed and will be rearranged in a couple of weeks.

The Scala posted on its Facebook page: “We are in the position of being in negotiations and sourcing extra funding and so we have now taken the decision to cancel the Friday meeting.”

Mrs Hughes, said:

“Discussions over funding are ongoing. There is still a lot of work to do but our thanks go out to the many Scala customers and community members who are rallying around and supporting the work that we are doing.”

Cllr Huw Jones, Denbighshire’s cabinet lead member for leisure, said:

“The council has given a lifeline to the Board of Trustees many times. We met frequently with the company over two years to assist them. However we have asked time and time again for information as to how they were going to address their financial situation and the kind of reassurances we expected have not been forthcoming.”

“Despite all our efforts to support the Scala company, it appears to find itself in an unsustainable financial situation.”

Rebecca Maxwell, Corporate Director: Economic and Community Ambition said:

“The council simply cannot continue to put at risk large sums of money to underpin the Scala’s financial deficit.”

Source: Rhyl Journal 04.11.14