Prices increasing at The Beehive as charity looks to plug £85,000 funding gap

The Beehive in Honiton. Ref mhh 42 19TI 2183. Picture: Terry Ife

The Beehive in Honiton. Ref mhh 42 19TI 2183. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Honiton's community centre will have to operate in the future with a new business model, says the chairman of the charity responsible for running it.

At the meeting of Honiton Town Council on January 13, Barry Simmonds - chairman of Honiton Community Complex -- said a lot more emphasis would be placed on self-funding and fundraising for The Beehive, in Dowell Street.

Mr Simmonds said the charity will have to find a further £85,000 a year in revenue - two thirds of it down to increased staff costs.

As a result, prices are being increased to users of the building.

Mr Simmonds said The Beehive operates with a 'fairly stretched' labour force.

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He said: "A lot of our paid staff at the moment are working double the hours of their contracts -some of them 50 per cent of their contract - and we are getting to the point of abuse if I might use that word.

"We have got to rectify that."

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Mr Simmonds said the charity is trying to get as much support as it can muster, but warned councillors it is a 'fairly daunting task'. He said the key problems lie in finding revenue streams to fund the building operational bill.

Mr Simmonds said as a result of the funding gap, some prices at The Beehive are rising.

He said: "We are going through the process now of slowly increasing certain prices.

"We are are going to slowly increase room hires and we think that is going to probably find £20,000 to take off that (£85,000)."

Mr Simmonds said there is a short-term cash problem affecting The Beehive, as well as a 'long trail' throughout the next five years, when the building's lease runs out.

Mr Simmonds also revealed plans are in the pipeline to rename The Beehive as an arts centre, which he said will assist with its future funding requests from arts lottery groups.

Mr Simmonds said: "A lot of work is going on.

"The next couple of months, quite frankly, we are going to be testing all the things and seeing what is viable and not viable and where we are going.

"The next two and a half months really is the feasibility stage and getting commitments.

"At that point the board is going to have to decide if it looks like a goer or no-goer and we will have to make that decision there and then."

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