Since the former Clifton Cinema in Wellington closed in the 1960s, there has always been a community desire to provide a replacement for it: a central arts and culture establishment within Wellington. Thanks to help from the Council’s Telford 50 Legacy Fund and with the hard work of a dedicated group of volunteers, this is now being made possible.

Wellington Town Council is set to spend its allocation of £150,000 from the Telford 50 Legacy Fund to assist the Clifton Community Arts Centre (CCAC) in bringing back into use the vacant HSBC bank building in central Wellington, to be known as the Wellington Orbit and to transform it into a community facility, to serve Wellington and the borough.

The grant is part of a £750,000 scheme funded by the £2m Telford 50 Legacy fund, giving £150,000 to the borough’s five Town Councils, including Wellington.

The project will attract a match funding of at least £37,500, with more expected to be unlocked as a result of this major grant from the Borough Council.

In applying for the grant, Wellington Town Council chose The Orbit by the Clifton Community Arts Centre (CCAC) for its Telford 50 Legacy funding, after working with members of the community who have campaigned for nearly a decade for additional facilities in Wellington for leisure and cultural events but also for various workshops, exhibitions and rehearsal spaces.

As such, the building which has been unoccupied for over two years will undergo a major refurbishment to include a café/bar area and a 70 seat cinema on the ground floor as well as multi-purpose rooms on the upper floors and basement that community groups will be able to use.

The refurbished centre will provide opportunities for people to display art works and develop arts activities.

CCAC are in discussions with the contractor and work should start shortly with a view to opening the Centre in early 2019.

Cllr Cindy Mason-Morris, Mayor of Wellington, said “We are delighted to have successfully secured a grant of £150,000 from Telford 50 Legacy Fund – this will be used for perhaps the most exciting community-led project in Wellington’s recent history and will benefit generations to come – a great legacy of Telford’s 50th anniversary.

“It will provide people with the arts & cultural centre they’ve been asking for many years and is set to become a key meeting point, attracting people to spend more time and money in Wellington.

It will also create new jobs and volunteering opportunities and we do hope it will become a focal point for people in the community as well as boosting local businesses.”

Councillor Lee Carter, Cabinet Member for Finance, Commercial Services & Economic Development said: “The refurbishment or purchase of community buildings and facilities is one of the key themes people have told us they wanted the Telford 50 legacy funding to support.

“This grant will help the projects delivery which in turn also helps our wider regeneration aims for Wellington.

“We are delighted that this grant is helping this long sought- after cinema and arts centre become a reality – it’s been a decade’s long campaign by the Clifton Group and I know that they will be delighted at this news.

It will positively impact on everyone living, working and visiting Wellington – another true lasting legacy of Telford’s 50th celebration year!”

The £2 million Telford 50 Legacy Fund supports a mix of physical schemes as well as other projects that help tackle key social issues in the borough and reduce demand on council services.

Pictured (left to right) are Ray Hughes (Finance Director Wellington Orbit), Cllr Phil Morris-Jones (Wellington Town Council), Fiona Hunter (PR & Media Director Wellington Orbit), Cllr Lee Carter (Cabinet Member for Finance, Commercial Services & Economic Development), Cllr Cindy Mason-Morris (Mayor of Wellington), Sarah Chard (Project Manager Wellington Orbit).