The Ironworks – Arts and Culture Community Venue
90 The High Street
Southend on Sea
We are writing to you on behalf of The Ironworks Community Venue in Southend on Sea, a vital community hub that has had a transformative impact on our local community and the High Street. The Ironworks has become a symbol of creativity, inclusivity, and resilience, and we are reaching out to you with a heartfelt plea for sponsorship.
As you may already know, The Ironworks faces an imminent threat of closure due to financial challenges. Our current funding from UK Government – SELEP which Southend City Council secured as part of the regeneration of the High Street - expires on February 9th 2024, and without additional support, we will be forced to vacate the premises on 9 Feb 2024.
This would be a tremendous loss, not only for our community but also for the local landscape, as The Ironworks has become a cornerstone of our High Street – a community hub.
The story of The Ironworks Centre began in 2021 when Kiwi Productions answered the call from Southend Council to activate an empty High Street shop space, emphasisng creative uses, community engagement, and the fight against social isolation and emotional and physical well-being. Over the past year- and it has only been a year, we have successfully embedded ourselves within the community and become an integral and celebrated part of Southend's cultural regeneration. Our accomplishments include:
• Welcoming over 108,514 individuals since our doors opened.
• Providing space for 44 charities and local service providers.
• Hosting 80 weekly additional needs clubs, welcoming over 1,000 visits from members.
• Offering free arts and crafts for children, with over 150 kids participating each week.
• Hosting numerous private and music events, involving over 1,000 musicians.
• Showcasing numerous artists and supporting local traders.
• Employing 20 individuals and engaging 10 regular weekly volunteers, many with additional needs.
The Ironworks community space is not just a place for events and activities; it is a safe, accessible space that enriches the lives of the Southend community. You can see the impact of our work and read testimonials on our social media channels, particularly our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/theIronWorksSouthend
You can also find us on Instagram [email redacted]kssouthend
Upon reviewing the recently announced draft budget, we were disheartened to find no mention of The Ironworks.
The challenges faced by The Ironworks have been exacerbated by recent financial setbacks. While emergency funding from two local trusts covered the period from 9th February to 25th March- the 9th Feb being the date that the funding from SELEP ceases, it was revealed in December that SCC had overspent the allocated funds for our project and the money was capped so the 2 year rent free period has not quite been met.
As a result, the final rent payment of £8191 plus VAT we were expecting could not be covered.
Consequently, the grant money initially intended for operational costs post 9th Feb has been redirected to cover SCC's shortfall, leaving us in need of urgent financial support.
We are urgently seeking assistance to cover the immediate £8191 plus VAT shortfall to remain open. (This takes our go fund me to 17k- including the 6.5k the community donated which we drew out to pay the rent on 24th December.
An additional £44k plus VAT would be ideal to sustain operations for the next six months so that we can see the following opportunities potentially come to fruition:
A floor rental offer from a local education authority, potentially generating £40,000 annually.
A £10,000 contribution from A Better Start Southend towards our free toddler club, partially covering rent.
Pending results from two applications for the UK Shared Prosperity fund in February.
Positive feedback from the National Lottery officer regarding lift funding, with potential support from the Arts Council and other grant bodies.
Identification as a strong beneficiary contender for the DP World £15M funding BID, set to be released in January.
Participation in The Levelling Up Fund Round 2, with hopes for inclusion in Round 3.
Safe Space for Homework - set to start in Feb
Music Therapy sessions for those with Dementia
Development of a Crisis Cafe to support those battling Mental Health
HAF progamme development
Development of a City centre Youth Club
Without immediate council support, The Ironworks Community Centre faces closure on 9th February.