Part of a £100,000 grant to subsidise Mareel during its first year is being called upon early by Shetland Arts to pay for advance costs associated with running the £12.2 million venue and cinema.
Shetland Charitable Trust agreed in early 2007 that it would pay up to £100,000 as a one-off for the arts centre to help it find its feet in its first year of trading, due to start next spring. The money was agreed as part of a deal which unlocked lottery support for building Mareel.
Three-and-a-half years on, Shetland Arts is seeking to tap into that pledge now to pay for up-front costs such as marketing and buying stock. It wants an initial £30,000.
In March a London-based creative agency Makehappy was appointed to create a brand identity for Mareel to help make it known to the wider world. Work started in July. It includes branding for the actual building and for promotional use, including in its online and mobile phone presence.
The trust also engaged London specialist PR firm Franklin Rae to promote next year’s opening.
The request for advance funds is being brought before trustees for approval at next Wednesday’s meeting of the charitable trust because the £100,000 is not in its £11.2 million budget for this financial year and will have to come out of reserves.
According to charitable trust financial controller Jeff Goddard, Shetland Arts has no spare funds of its own to fall back on, having been required by the charitable trust to shave over £77,000 (10 per cent) from its budget.
Mareel’s business plan projects sales of nearly £400,000 a year from drinks and snacks plus income from staging 177 live events a year, attended by an average of over 200 people.