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Bosses of Whitstable Castle given £15,000 lifeline from Canterbury council to stop them going out of business

17 March 2014
by Jamie Bullen

The group running Whitstable Castle has asked a council for a £15,000 lifeline to prevent it from going out of business, it has emerged.

Minutes from a Canterbury council executive meeting show trustees applied for an emergency loan under the council’s single grants gateway to cover running costs at the castle until the end of the financial year.

After confidential talks it was decided to award the grant, but only if the council’s representatives on the castle board, Cllrs Jean Law and Jeannie Harrison, were given access to the venue’s monthly financial reports.

Stella English was forced to change the line-up for a show at Whitstable Castle

Whitstable Castle is an imposing landmark

According to minutes the decision was taken as it minimised the risk of the council reclaiming ownership of the castle, thereby preventing the trust from insolvency.

There are fears about the castle’s future following the loss of two managers in quick succession and the cancellation of events.

Teacher Tatton Spiller of Island Wall was left disappointed after his outdoor film night was scrapped despite an agreement with previous manager Jackie Moe.

Mr Spiller organised a screening of The Princess Bride in August to raise money for playground swings but was contacted by Tiffany Welch at the castle to say the event was off.

Mr Spiller said: “I phoned them to find out what was going on, and they told me they had decided to not go ahead with a number of events.

“The castle is one of the town’s most precious assets and is a unique setting" - Tatton Spiller

“Clearly this is incredibly frustrating.

“The castle is one of the town’s most precious assets and is a unique setting.

“Events like this seek to use the space to bring the community together, raise money for charity and give everyone a good time.

“By reversing the decision to go ahead with the event, the castle is demonstrating a lack of vision.

Council spokesman Rob Davies added: “The council offers emergency grants to voluntary sector organisations that experience financial difficulty.

“We have awarded a number of these grants in the past. This is one of the ways the council supports the voluntary sector.”

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