Three-year Stiwt funding has been agreed to ensure the future of the site

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Job : Thu 10 Nov 2022

The Stiwt Theater in Rhos will receive financial support from Wrexham Council to help secure its future over the next three years.

At its meeting this week, the council’s board agreed to continue support of £30,000 a year to the Stiwt Trust which runs the site, including the delivery of a program of Welsh cultural activities.

The report, presented by Senior Member for Place and Environment, Rossett Cllr Hugh Jones (Con) reviewed by the Board, said the alternative cost of ending funding and building closure, the handing over to the council, the ‘mothballed’, had been estimated at nearly £47,000 a year.

Pant Advisor Stella Matthews (Lab) asked if the funding provided should match the mothballing estimate, given inflation.

Ruabon Cllr Dana Davies (Lab) highlighted the role the Stiwt played in the Wrexham City of Culture bid and argued that given inflation and the cost of living crisis it was actually of a ‘reduction’ in funding.

The application for City of Culture 2029 takes place in 2025.

Cllr Jones said: ‘The standby costs have never been directly linked to the money we give to the trust.
“The trust has asked the board to consider another funding arrangement at the current level of £30,430 a year, so we are responding to the trust’s request.
“We have worked with the Stiwt Trust Board, we have worked with the Arts Council of Wales and we have worked with a number of organizations to ensure that the Stiwt is well supported and well funded.
“In times of increasing difficulties, we have always maintained this working relationship.”

He added that the Stiwt is an important part of the City of Culture bid and that “every opportunity will be taken to seek additional funding for arts and culture in the county borough”.

“I am excited and confident that we can find other avenues of funding and support,” said Cllr Jones.

Ponciau Cllr Paul Pemberton (Ind) took the floor to pay tribute to the volunteers and board who keep the site running, adding that without them “the Stiwt would be history”.

The Stiwt is a Grade II listed building owned by Wrexham Council. The Stiwt Trust holds a 25 year lease and is responsible for repairs and maintenance. The lease was renewed in 2011 and there are 15 years left to run.

Funds have been provided to the trust by the council since an agreement in October 2015, diminishing over time, and this extension will help secure the future of the site.

In addition to local authority funding, the Rhos Community Council also provides the Stiwt with financial support of £6,000 a year. The Rhos Housing Estate office will also continue to be based in the building.

Arts Council Wales also continues to provide grants, but these are only for the direct delivery of activities and events and cannot be used as a source of core income.

By Rory Sheehan – BBC Local Democracy Reporter

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