Cinema director hails exciting times for Wellington after £10m boost confirmed
There are exciting times ahead for Wellington according to the director of a community cinema set to benefit from £10m of Government funding.
The chancellor's budget included a major financial boost for the town – with money being split between three projects – £7.8m to buy and refurbish the market, another £1.7m to buy and extend The Orbit, as well as £1.3m for highways improvements.
The Orbit opened in May 2019, with the scheme born out of the 'Save the Clifton' campaign.
It has a 63 seat-cinema and café and has been a huge success, hosting a number of special entertaining screenings and visits – including the actual DeLorean from Back to the Future.
The latest funding for the Orbit will be used for 'phase two' of the project – refurbishing the upper two floors of the building to create a performance arts studio, a cafe exhibition area, and a number of multi-functional rooms that could be used for training, meetings, or rehearsals.
Orbit director, Ray Hughes, said they were delighted at the announcement, adding that the level of investment in the town had never been as high.
He said it would allow the work on phase two to be carried out in one go – rather than bit-by-bit.
He said: "We are particularly delighted that we will be able to do the work in one chunk rather than on a piecemeal basis.
"It will basically be re-developing the upper two floors of the building to create an all-round arts centre."
He said they had been thrilled with the rapid progress of the project over the past few years – and added that community support had been vital.
"From getting the lease in May 2018 and having a year's construction we opened in May 2019 and this will enable us to perfect the project," he said.
He added: "The project does not realise its aims unless we engage with the community and the fact the community has embraced the project means the powers-that-be believe we are worth investing in."
Mr Hughes said there were exciting times ahead for for the town.
He said: "The population of Wellington has never been as large as it is and going forward the more people we can attract to spend leisure and shopping time in Wellington town centre the better for the market, the Orbit and all the traders."
He added: "The level of investment in Wellington has never been as high as it is at the moment and it places a huge onus on us to spend it wisely and provide facilities the community wants."