ON behalf of the Customs House Trust, I should like to thank the Gazette for the wonderful support and coverage it has given to The Customs House.
When, in October, we reviewed our half-year performance, it was clear that after two years of deficits and all our reserves spent, we were in a really difficult position.
To protect ticket monies pre-paid by our loyal customers and money due to artists, some radical action needed to be taken.
We had already substantially cut costs – staff numbers had been almost halved – and expenditure was cut dramatically.
Since that time significant events have helped turn the situation around.
The pantomime, which in October was 25 per cent behind 2012 figures, went on to exceed projected income targets.
In addition, the Arts Council, recognising the Customs House’s status as being of national strategic importance, agreed to provide emergency funding to cover our in year deficit. And South Tyneside Council, in a very difficult climate, has kept supporting the Trust.
Local companies and business folk continue to become more involved in our organisation.
Then the magnificent fundraising events generously supported by Jason Cook, Sarah Millican, Chris Ramsey and Joe McElderry have helped to secure our future.
We can enter the new financial year with some reserves in place.
More fundraising events are still to come including Dance To Your Daddy, an award-winning production set right here in the borough.
Most importantly, the community has got behind us. The response has been overwhelming.
Looking forward, things are much better than they were.
So, thanks to all who have helped us, and with the continued support of our audiences, we are staying right here: entertaining, enriching and inspiring – developing the stars of tomorrow while serving our community today.
Thank you, South Tyneside.
Ray Spencer MBE,
The Customs House Trust Ltd.