We know that many people have questions and concerns about what our plans are. Here is a list of FAQs. We will be adding to these and adding to our website as the plans develop.
1. Why are you closing for 2 years?
The building in Sansome Street is in need of significant attention and renovation, and the income we generate now is not enough to allow us to invest in the premises, or the people who work there, or the programme of classes and community arts.
This means that going on as we are simply isn’t an option.
The Worcester Arts Workshop is a registered community arts charity and the Trustees have the responsibility of ensuring it has a sound foundation for a successful future.
We want to improve it, for a new era, and take action to ensure it has a great future.
2. What will you do when you are closed?
In the first year we’ll be focusing on 3 things: fundraising, consulting with people in the community, and developing plans – for the renovation and re-designing the interiors. We want bigger and better spaces to provide the art experience you want.
The second year will be the building work: an extensive refurbishment and extension.
3. Why can’t you stay open while you raise the money?
Focusing entirely on the future for the next 2 years, instead of trying to just manage and keep the doors open, will give us the time and space we need to re-invigorate the Workshop.
The plan is to be back with a new and much improved venue and an exciting and much expanded arts programme in 2020. That’s not far off, and there is a lot to do.
4. Where will you get your ideas from?
We want to talk to as many people as possible.
So please do share your ideas about what you would like to see in the new Arts Workshop. It’s really important to us, and will help us make sure we create the kind of place you want.
We also want to talk to people who don’t use us at the moment, to find out why they don’t.
And we’ll be consulting with lots of experts with special experience in the arts.
5. What will happen to Café Bliss?
Lots of people think Cafe Bliss is a part of the Workshop itself.
In fact, Cafe Bliss are tenants at the Workshop and run their business as a separate enterprise.
Obviously, it’s a popular meeting place, and so the Cafe will continue to be at the Workshop right through until we close the building to the public at the end of May 2018.
Earlier this year, we gave the Café one year’s notice so that they had time to look for other premises in Worcester.
We very much hope that they will find the right place to carry on with what they do so well.
6. Will there be a Café in the Workshop when you reopen?
Definitely. We believe a good café is the social heart of a community arts centre.
We’d like to have a Café that’s centrally integrated with the new arts workshop, so it’s reached through one main entrance – rather than having a separate entrance as now.
It’s too early to say whether we will still have space for a full commercial kitchen. It also depends on what people say they want, during the consultation period.
7. How are you paying for architects and a fundraising consultant?
We couldn’t do what we’re doing without the Arts Council.
They’ve given us a grant that fully funds a feasibility study on the future of the Workshop.
The money made it possible for us to work with architects on initial ideas for the internal modernisation and expansion of our existing building.
It also covers working with a consultant on our options, and to develop a fundraising strategy.
8. How can we keep in touch with what’s happening?
At the moment we only have some initial outline plans.
We need a lot more discussions with the architects before we have something to show to the public for a proper consultation.
You can keep up to date with all developments on the ‘The Future’ page of our website, when this is created, and on our Facebook page.
And there will be plenty of consultation meetings and sharing of information. So stay tuned!