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Charity-run arts centre facing closure amid funding black hole

This news post is 7 months old
 

The DCA in Dundee could be forced to eat significantly into its reserves to stay afloat. 

A charity-run arts centre in Dundee is facing the possibility of closure after concerns emerged over a funding gap at the site. 

Director of the Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA), Beth Bate, told MSPs the venue - which encompassed a two-screen cinema, art gallery, print studio and restaurant - may be forced to use the last of its financial reserves to remain in operation.

Speaking to MSPs in Holyrood, Ms Bate issued a grim warning about the DCA's future as it attempts to fill a £300,000 funding blackhole. 

She warned that while the charity currently has around £450,000 in reserves, it could be left with just £90,000 if they were forced to use those to cover their current funding gap. 

The charity’s director said the centre had been “wrung dry” as it attempts to save cash amid “previously unimaginable financial precarity”.

Ms Bate also criticised the Scottish Government’s “lack of clarity” around budget-making decisions, calling this “startling”.

The DCA may now be forced to halt it exhibitions programme and children’s film festival. 

She said: “This would then take us so far from our charitable aims, and the function for which we are funded, we could not operate.

“We’re so prudent. We’ve made efficiencies everywhere, including restructuring teams, losing hours and posts, restricting hours, delivering work with external partners, investing in fundraising, and setting high and hard income-generating targets.

“But we’re now at the point where we’re stripped back enough. Any more cuts will fundamentally change the organisation and the impact we have in Dundee, Scotland and internationally.

“We simply don’t have enough money.”

Ms Bate told The Courier that the DCA was facing a “perfect storm”, with reduced attendance post-Covid, rising costs and stagnant public funding.

She added: “While we are prudently run and at no immediate risk, we have reached a point where standstill funding will no longer be sufficient.

“Important decisions are being taken in the next couple of months regarding the Scottish Government’s culture budgets for 2024/25 which are vital to avoid significant and irreparable damage to Scotland’s world leading culture sector.”

 

Comments

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John Foerster
5 months ago

Ms. Bate might wish to take a look at the DCA reviews on TripAdvisor- often a pretty sensitive index of overall feedback. Although the overall rating (4.5/5 stars) may seem reassuring, if you dig into the reviews, a different picture emerges: the overwhelming number of reviews (including positives) is to do with the restaurant (e.g. "great fries"), less with the cinema, and negligible with the events/exhibits: quite clearly, local audience does NOT engage with the program of exhibits on show. Reasons may be varied and complex but it's obviously NOT a winning proposition. I don't presume to know the answer as to best way forward but simply to go on as per present wouldn't seem an option.

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ROB MCINTOSH
7 months ago

I had a quick look at the cafe menus etc. - dire. Just a very bland mix of dishes that could be served up anywhere in the world - so much excellent produce in Fife and Scotland so why is the cafe not becoming a promoter of truly local and Scottish food and drinks!

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