Civic hall becomes Beacon for profitability

Vale leader Matt Barber

Vale leader Matt Barber

First published in
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Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Abingdon and Wantage, South Oxford and Kennington. Call me on 01865 425431

A COUNCIL has spent £11,000 to rebrand a community hall in an attempt to make it more profitable.

Vale of White Horse District Council spent the cash to rename Wantage Civic Hall as The Beacon.

It paid Faringdon marketing firm AWM Branding £11,000 to develop a new website and create photography, signs and posters to make the hall, which costs taxpayers £100,000 a year to run, pay its way.

The Beacon is now marketing itself as a venue for parties and weddings, running a monthly cinema and holding classes, which it hopes will bring in an extra £30,000 a year.

Even so, the council estimates it will take another five years before the hall breaks even.

Wantage Town and Vale councillor Jenny Hannaby said she was surprised the district council had spent so little.

She said: “If they wish to promote it, we must look at further refurbishment.

“The Vale is rolling in money, the new homes bonus could have been used to refurbish the toilets.

“I question why they haven’t purchased cinema equipment themselves and made a definite commitment to keep the cinema going.”

Vale leader Matt Barber said the rebranding was part of wider improvements, including putting in new lights and coffee machines.

He said: “That money deals with the PR side of things, but that is just the tip of the iceberg.

“There is a programme to replace some of the lighting, we have changed some of the staffing and we are promoting more events.

“It is much more about changing the way we run the centre.”

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