New Community Arts Centre Appoints First Member of Staff

A Central Shropshire community arts centre has now appointed their first paid member of staff, Chief Officer, Sophie Eades.

The Clifton Community Arts Centre (CCAC) was established in 2013 with a view to raising awareness and funds to reopen the Clifton building in Wellington for the benefit of the community. Unfortunately, a developer stepped in and purchased the site for residential and retail development.

Fiona Hunter, Honorary President of the CACC said "with strong community support we have raised a substational amount of money to enable the lease of another significant Wellington building, the former HSBC bank on Station Road". After lengthy negotiations the lease was finally signed and now the building is being re-vamped using local builders McPhillips to incorporate a cinema and café/restaurant initially, with a view to developing the further two floors at a later time. 'Wellington Orbit' is set to open in April.  

Sophie, from Much Wenlock, who was appointed as Chief Officer in December told us "this is such an amazing and exciting project to be involved with. I really look forward to working with and alongside the individuals and the varied community groups within Wellington to make something very exciting; I have so many plans which I hope the community will support!"

Having previously run a Community Centre in South Shropshire, Sophie brings a wealth of skills to the new role. Sophie said "I was responsible for the day-to-day running of a very busy community centre in Church Stretton, with an average foot fall of 1,200 per week. It ran along similar lines to the CACC, as the staff at the centre in Stretton also worked alongside over 300 volunteers who gave over 700 hours a week in volunteering time." Sophie's role also included building and facilities management, line managing 14 staff, Health and Safety and designing the organisations promotional material as well as social media and website management. Previously to that, Sophie ran her own Marketing, PR and Photography business in Shropshire, working with many local businesses such as The Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust, The Shropshire Guild of Contemporary Craft and Shropshire Council.

Sophie continued "I really look forward to organising regular themed exhibitions featuring the work of local artists as well as promoting the designer makers of the region. There are many other plans to include themed screenings and dinner, and also 'date nights', where people can come and enjoy a delicious meal and watch a film after."

Sophie, who does consider herself to be a foodie continued "sourcing local food, where possible for the bar/café/restaurant is very important to me, supporting local producers is something I am passionate about for The Orbit". 

Honorary President, Fiona said "appointing Sophie is a fantastic step for us; she brings to Wellington a huge skill set as well as tremendous passion and enthusiasm for the project".