The Douglas Centre Trust

AGM 2019 – Chairs Report for 2018

THE DOUGLAS CENTRE TRUST operating as the cornerHOUSE Community Arts Centre

In 2018, we continued to be both busy and successful. We had expended a large sum on repairing our roof in 2017 but the lack of such major issues in 2018 enabled us to rebuild our reserves, as well as continuing to invest in the building and equipment in order to meet the needs of our diverse users. Our focus has continued to be on the arts, education and diversity (of both provision and users).

During academic terms, regular hirers once again used the centre every day of the week. Local schools and colleges, children and young people’s drama classes, singing groups, drama for adults with learning difficulties; all these used our space regularly. Major users included Kingston Junior Drama, Katy’s Drama, Tolworth Infant and Junior Schools, Kingston College and ROYAD. The Autumn saw a new group of adults with disabilities from Kingston Adult Education Centre begin to come to the cornerHOUSE every Wednesday afternoon.

Increasingly, half-terms and holiday periods have seen workshops provided by regular users and others, sometimes culminating in performances.

Visual arts have been well represented, with monthly gala evenings introducing new exhibitions, and a long waiting list of artists.

The Film Club attracts an audience of all ages to more than 20 films per year. The films represent cinema from a wide range of cultures. Membership fees are still pegged at £10 per year.

Our crafters’ group, “Crafty Afty”, meets regularly to share skills and techniques or just to practise their crafts in a supportive atmosphere.

We kept up a busy programme of public events, including our own in-house contributions. This year our annual pantomime played to six full houses. The One Acts festival was also highly successful, featuring eight plays by writers who submit them anonymously, with directors and casts selected by open audition.

Visiting shows included comedy nights, drama, dance, music, charity events and children’s drama and made use of the main auditorium and the Barry Rocard Studio.

The Trust is glad to provide facilities for Kingston Young Carers.

The Trust continued to promote diversity, with a special emphasis on older people and people from a wide range of ethnic and national backgrounds, including refugees. We were delighted to receive a grant from Love Kingston towards the promotion of diversity amongst active participants and audiences.

The centre maintained and improved its financial stability, despite the high costs of running such a varied programme in an ageing building.

We are very much aware that none of this would be possible without our small army of on and off stage volunteers, our pro bono auditors (Sloane Winckless and Co.), and our benevolent landlords Saint Matthew’s Church.

Jeremy Thorn. April 2019