A COUNCILLOR has questioned whether The Phoenix Theatre and Arts Centre should be staging events at other venues.
Whitehill Town Council member Cllr Mike Steevens told Phoenix director Rob Allerston that The Cube in The Shed – where Mr Allerston has moved the Phoenix’s comedy club – was “competing with you”.
But Mr Allerston said: “I do the programme for both. I am making sure there is a synergy and they are not compromising each other.”
The Phoenix is also considering using the planned entertainment space at the Mess Hall. Trustee Jim Miles said: “We are working very closely with the Whitehill & Bordon Regeneration Company on the programme. There will be 300 seats so the Mess Hall can have larger acts and bigger deals.”
This debate came last Thursday as the executive committee discussed applications for a share of the council’s £41,000 major grants pot for the 2022-23 financial year.
The Phoenix had asked for £23,000, Citizens Advice East Hampshire £13,000, the Whitehill & Bordon Community Association/Whitehill & Bordon Town Partnership £10,000 and Home-Start Hampshire £5,000.
Council leader Cllr Andy Tree said: “I think the questions Mike raises are valid but they are outside the scope of a major grant aid application.”
Cllr Steevens asked Curtis Bone, chairman of the Whitehill & Bordon Community Association, about Forest Community Centre running costs. Mr Bone said it had changed electricity supplier, but added: “All community buildings are a drain on resources.”
Citizens Advice East Hampshire chief executive Helen Drake said: “A major change is the cost of living rise. January 2022 saw our highest number of clients ever. It will really have an impact in Whitehill & Bordon in the coming year.”
Home-Start Hampshire business development manager Charlotte Dooley said: “Our family support groups in Alton and Bordon are not currently funded. We want to carry on what we’re doing in this very difficult time for families.”
With applications totalling £51,000 the committee agreed to give each the same proportion of their request.
The Phoenix received £18,490, Citizens Advice £10,451, Whitehill & Bordon Community Association £8,039 and Home-Start £4,020.