News

St Mary in the Castle Statement 20/07/22

It is with great sadness that we inform you, that as of November 2022, after a tenancy that has run for nearly ten years, the St Mary in the Castle Charitable Trust will be ending our lease with Hastings Borough Council.
It is with great sadness that we inform you, that as of November 2022, after a tenancy that has run for nearly ten years, the St Mary in the Castle Charitable Trust will be ending our lease with Hastings Borough Council.

This means the venue will no longer be operational or open to the public after this time, under this trust.

Unfortunately, the trust is unable to recover from the devastating effects of the pandemic without further financial subsidy to allow St Mary in the Castle to return to pre-pandemic operations, we projected this would not be until Spring 2023. Any money made from events after covering costs is reinvested into the ongoing maintenance of the building. Since the pandemic we have had fewer venue hires and lower audience numbers, meaning we are unable to cover these costs going forward.

We would firstly like to thank all of those who have supported us over the years to maintain this marvellous Grade II* listed building which has been at the forefront of everything that we do. We hope the next occupants continue to underpin the needs of this unique gem within Hastings. In 3 years, the building is 200 years old so must be one of the oldest assets in the town’s portfolio.

The age and listed status of the building comes with its challenges. During lockdown we successfully secured funding from various sources to enable us to re open in September 2021. We have invested over £80,000 in the last year, ensuring the venue is safety compliant, which allows us to legally welcome in members of the public. Another recent challenge has been the sharp price increase in our utilities, electricity alone is £5,000 a month.

We have had many communications regarding financial help from Hastings Borough Council and despite providing numerous business plans and financial documents at the request of HBC, to this date, they have not formally responded to our request. Having looked at all other funding opportunities to no avail, we now have no choice but to close.

The St Mary’s Cafe & Bar is leased from the Trust and its future is therefore also in doubt subject to further discussion with Hastings Borough Council.

The venue will run as usual from now until November. All the booked events will take place and the office will be open as usual. We look forward to hosting and animating the space right up until the very end.

We hope that you please continue supporting St Mary in the Castle and the wider infrastructure it provides, including community events, promoter led events, service providers and of course our staff and amazing volunteers. We will be ending on a high as we have the very talented Aba Shanti hosting our last event on Saturday 29th October 2022.

Please be assured, organisers of any events booked beyond November have been personally contacted and their events cancelled, with any deposits being repaid in full.

Any ticket holders for events beyond November, please contact your ticket provider who will fully reimburse you.

Yours sincerely
The St Mary in the Castle Charitable Trust