2015: Saltdean Community Centre to Close?

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2015: The Saltdean Community Centre, which is managed by The Saltdean Community Association, and which forms part of the Saltdean Lido building, is being threatened with closure

The Saltdean Community Association, a registered charity, was established nearly 60 years ago and ‘exists solely to run the Saltdean Community Centre. Currently 600 people pass through the community centre doors each month and there are 25 classes and organisations catering for all ages, tastes and interests. Saltdean Community Association is run by a voluntary committee who have a clear and positive vision to serve the local community and best utilise the iconic Art Deco Saltdean Lido building.’

On 4th November, at the Annual General Meeting of The Saltdean Community Association (SCA) Chair Liz Lee, Secretary Ethel Trigg, and Treasurer Lesley Ann Jeavons officially stood down from their respective posts.

After a show of hands, Cathy Gallagher, the only nominee, was duly elected Chair, and Fergus Gallagher was elected Secretary.

Cathy and Fergus are also currently Committee members of The Saltdean Residents’ Association (SRA), a separate organisation which has been actively involved with The Saltdean Lido Community Interest Company’s (SLCIC) bid to ‘Save the Lido’. Cathy holds the post of Vice Chair and Secretary; and Fergus holds the post of Registrar.

Having been duly elected to the post of Chair at Saltdean Community Association’s AGM, Cathy addressed the meeting and answered questions about the future of The Community Centre, which led to a heated debate:

Cathy told the members: ‘One thing we will do is communicate and include the members, and that’s the whole membership, as much as possible in everything.

We’ve basically got just about six weeks now before this building might close to the SCA …..’

A shocked member responded to this unexpected news by asking:  ‘So what are you saying? It could close in six weeks?’

Cathy replied:…unless Brighton & Hove want to take responsibility for it that’s exactly a very big possibility and of course over that time what we will do is absolutely talk to people like you that are using the building and (if) it is the case the Community Centre closes we’ll try to help you get alternatives.’

The majority of the members present confirmed by a show of hands that they wanted a Community Centre and Cathy re-iterated:

‘So everybody wants a Community Centre at some point, but that’s why we do really need to talk together as a community.’

If you have any further news on this subject please let The Saltdean Zone know so that we can share it with the Saltdean community


Notification from Liz Lee (previous chair of the S.C.A) 18/11/2015

Unfortunately the poster about the 28th November Lido Night can be taken down.This event has been cancelled by the new trustees of Saltdean Community Association who took over earlier this month.


Press Release 19/11/2015
The last ever “Lido Nights” show, due to take place on the 28th November, has been controversially cancelled at the 11th hour. The new trustees of Saltdean Community Association (no connection with the CIC “Save The Lido” campaign), recently took over the post of running the lido building on November 4th. This week they decided to cancel the Christmas show which had been booked by the former trustees since last June.
Chaired by Cathy Gallagher, the new trustees decided by a vote of 4 to 1, to cancel the show based on their own “health and safety risk assessment” undertaken on the building and it’s grounds. The details of these issues remain unclear, but it appears that the number of fire exits and condition of emergency exits routes leading away from the building were the main areas of contention. The previous board of trustees are adamant that the Lido building is safe for this event, and that all the licenses, insurances and safety certificates are in place. Former trustee Ethel Trigg stated: “before we handed over the building to the new trustees we had our own Risk Assessment carried out in the presence of Brighton and Hove City Council, and everything was up to standard. The new trustees individual Risk Assessment must obviously be contradictory to ours.”
The Christmas show had over 25 musicians and performers booked for their “Grand Finale” (including a children’s choir) and most of the 200 tickets had already been sold.
So what on earth has gone on here?
“It is frustrating and incredibly disappointing” said events organiser Chris Nieto. “This is a big show the preparation of which involved an immense amount of work and effort on behalf of myself and the original SCA board….all to be cancelled at the last-minute. I totally understand that public safety is paramount and nothing is worth putting that at risk. Therefore I offered to address any issues in the new trustees’ risk assessment even at my own cost, in order for the show to go on. All the issues raised about the fire exits by the new trustees are, in my opinion, fixable, and we have the funds to do it. The problem, as far as I see it, is that the new SCA trustees are showing no appetite or interest for this show continuing, despite the disappointment of the local residents who were looking forward to the show, and the local charities that would have financially benefited. Last years show raised £1200 for two local hospices. The kids choir who have been practicing for weeks are desperately disappointed.”
Anyone who has already purchased tickets for the show will get a full refund. Simply take your tickets back to the point of purchase.
Any problems or questions please email: lidonights@hotmail.co.uk

Saltdean charity show cancelled

Posted On 24 Nov 2015 at 11:26 am
Brighton & Hove News

The cancellation of a Christmas charity show at the eleventh hour because of health and safety fears has left organisers “gutted” and confused.

Lido Nights cancelled
The news follows an outcry when the new trustees of the association which runs the centre, part of the Saltdean Lido complex, announced they were considering closing it just after taking it over – to the shock of trustees who were standing down.

Now, the final Lido Nights show, billed as the “last ever” with the impending renovation of the lido itself, has been cancelled.

Organiser Chris Nieto said: “It was a huge shock because the timing of it was less than two weeks before the show started and pretty much had been done, including selling most of the tickets.

“I’m gutted. I put a lot of work into this, a lot of organising. As well as three bands, we had a choir with local kids that were going to perform, and they’re desperately disappointed.

“We would have raised about £2,000 for the SCA, and also money for the Martlets – last year we raised £1,200 which we split between the Martlets and another hospice, St Barnabas, with a raffle.”

A smaller show will now be put on at the White Horse, with a bucket handed round to raise money for the bands, which are out-of-pocket as they had kept the date free, and will not now be paid.

The show had been organised since June, and the outgoing trustees say all licences, insurances and safety certificates are in place.

Former trustee Ethel Trigg said: “Before we handed over the building to the new trustees we had our own Risk Assessment carried out in the presence of Brighton and Hove City Council, and everything was up to standard. The new trustees individual Risk Assessment must obviously be contradictory to ours.”

Mr Nieto says he offered to pay for any extra insurance, and believes that any health and safety issues raised by the new trustees, such as contractors’ equipment left by fire exits, can easily be overcome.

In a letter sent to members of the SCA, new chair Cathy Gallagher said: “We have also been reviewing health and safety matters and carrying out a risk assessment.

“There has been an urgency about this as we were being asked to confirm that  the a Lido Night event scheduled for 28 November 2015 would be supported by the trustees.

“Unfortunately in the short time available to us we were not able to recommend the event proceed based on the information available to us.

“We realise that there will be a disappointment for all of those who were looking forward to the event and we are really sorry about that, but we hope you will understand that health and safety has to be our main priority at any event, no matter what the cause or beneficiary.

“As trustees it is fair to say we are risk averse as we consider we have a duty of care to all visitors to the community centre.”

She also said the SCA would be concentrating on its role to benefit the inhabitants of Saltdean to advance education and provide facilities in the interests of social welfare rather than securing the establishment of a community centre, as the long-term renovation of the lido means “there is inevitably going to be an adjustment to the role of the SCA.”

Rebecca Crook, director of the Saltdean Lido CIC confirmed its plans include both a new library and refurbished rooms for community use and hire.

A spokeswoman for Brighton and Hove City Council said: “We are negotiating with the Saltdean Community Association about a new lease. The current lease expires on December 20.”

Anyone who has already purchased tickets for the show will get a full refund. Simply take your tickets back to the point of purchase. Any problems or questions please email: lidonights@hotmail.co.uk.

Message from Chris Nieto (organiser of cancelled Lido Night) 23/11/2015:

For those disappointed at the cancellation of the Christmas Lido Nights Finale there is one little ray of sunshine among all the Bar Humbug. The Diablos and Micky Hart have organised a last-minute free entry gig at the White Horse in Rottingdean on the same night as the cancelled show (Saturday 28th November). There will be a raffle for the Martlets and the night will also feature one or two special guests!

One word of warning , the pub will be very busy so for many it will be standing room only. Playing times are 9 till 11pm.


The Argus  25/11/2015
Anger as Saltdean Lido Christmas show cancelled over health and safety concerns

Chris Nieto

A CONCERT organiser is angry after his charity show at a community-run venue was cancelled over health and safety fears.

The Lido Nights Christmas Special was due to run this Friday at the Saltdean Lido but the organiser claims he was given 12 days’ notice of cancellation.

The Saltdean Community Association (SCA) pulled the plug following concerns over the state of fire escapes and lighting serving the venue’s ballroom.

Chris Nieto, 52, who was putting on the night, said: “We are devastated. There’s nothing wrong with the health and safety of that place.

“It’s so upsetting for everyone involved.”

Mr Nieto said he was told on Saturday, November 14, that the show was cancelled and felt his efforts to make the show happen fell on deaf ears.

This year’s event, with 200 tickets available at £12 each, had apparently shifted 150 already, according to Mr Nieto.

The gig was supposed to see rock ’n’ roll band Micky Hart And The Hartbreakers, The Brighton School of Singing Christmas Choir and Beyond The Moon, a local pop-rock girl band, as well as Mr Nieto’s own band, country rockers The Diablos.

Mr Nieto added: “This would have been our fifth Christmas Show and our last .”

He said the event last year raised £1,200 for The Martlets hospice in Hove and St Barnabas Hospice in Worthing, with the Martlets due to have benefitted this year.

In response, Cathy Gallagher, chairwoman of the trustees of the SCA, told The Argus the cancellation was “nothing personal”.

She said: “We certainly didn’t take this decision lightly. There’s absolutely nothing personal about it.

“We recognise from the sale of the bar we could have expected £500, which we didn’t think outweighed the risk.”

Mrs Gallagher said there were various safety issues, including how quickly the building could be evacuated if there was a fire.

She added: “It’s a very old building. We tried for the first week of our tenure to make it happen and every time we solved an issue, more came up.

“We have been elected as trustees and take our responsibilities very seriously.

“The trustees didn’t feel we could give the go-ahead.”

To offset the disappointment, The Diablos and Micky Hart And The Hartbreakers are playing a free gig at the White Horse in Rottingdean on Friday, from 9pm until 11pm.

Photos of Lido Night @ The White Horse Rottingdean 28/11/2015

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lido movedlido moved 2

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Follow this link for the Petition to keep The Saltdean Lido’s Community Centre openCommunity Centre pic dancing

Thank you to Chris Nieto for sharing with us some pictures (below) of previous Lido Night events.
Chris Nieto: Here’s a few pics from past to remind folks of some great Lido shows. Lido Nights shows of recent years

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not forgetting Lido’s Got Talent (for under 18s) .

chris 2

Attended by The Mayor of Brighton we raised £1000 for Children in Need


It was a week ago today that the Saltdean Lido CIC, the Saltdean Residents’ Association & the new SCA held a joint exhibition, at the Lido building, highlighting Saltdean’s history, and promoting the CIC’s campaign. Cathy & Fergal Gallagher, who effectively run both the SRA & SCA , showed us (TSZ) around the Community Centre that day. We were also given a tour of outside of the Rotunda, including the fire escapes. Cathy & Fergal made efforts to explain to us their reasoning for recent major decisions they have made regarding the Community Centre. We offered them, at that time, the opportunity to make a statement outlining what they told us, that we could post here on The Saltdean Zone. We feel better direct communication would help everyone concerned. We also feel that it is OK for our community to ask questions about the situation regarding The Lido and it’s Community Centre. Closing or reducing availability of the Community Centre has affected local businesses, musical and community groups. There also appear to be differences of opinion about the running of the SCA by the previous committee, with questions being raised about licences, safety and finances. In the spirit of Christmas we are hoping that through improved communication these issues and differences can be better understood and eventually resolved, instead of being left to create more misunderstanding and discord.
Saltdean Zone

FB post: ‘It was a week ago’ 19/12/2015

Other social media threads that you may be interested in regarding the issues raised in this article:

Streetlife November 2015

FB post: ‘A message’ 22/11/2015

FB post: ‘A big month’ 23/11/2015

FB post: Lido Nights 15/12/2015

FB post: ‘Latest on’ 19/11/2015

FB post; Lesley Anne Jeavons 16/12/2015



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3 thoughts on “2015: Saltdean Community Centre to Close?

  • Pingback: 50p for the meter: Saltdean Lido development on hold 02/10/2015 and continuing story | The Saltdean Zone

  • November 10, 2015 at 3:31 pm

    I’ll be so disappointed if the centre closes and my Pilates stops, because I can’t guarantee to be able to attend my Pilates class at one of the other venues on any other day (due to work and childcare commitments) and it has helped my injured shoulders enormously already – in just 3 wks! Please keep the Saltdean Lido Community Centre open!

  • November 10, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    Hello Sarah, thank you for your comment, the feedback we are getting from the people of Saltdean and our neighboring villages & towns, is the Community Centre is a valuable and much loved Community resource. If it closes we do wish you well in finding a suitable and viable alternative, though we can appreciate that there appears to be not a great deal of time to do so.


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