An urgent rescue package has been sought to save Falmouth's Princess Pavilion as the company that runs it admits: "We cannot afford to carry on as we are."

Staff have been put under risk of redundancy and GLL, which was awarded a 25-year contract for the venue by Cornwall Council back in 2016, starting the following year, is currently waiting to her the outcome of a funding bid to the government.

The pavilion, including its events venue, cafe and associated Gyllyngdune Gardens, has been closed since the beginning of lockdown in March.

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In a joint statement to the Packet, GLL and Cornwall Council said: "Sadly, Covid safety restrictions mean there is no hope of returning to a full theatre programme until spring 2021 and GLL is having to make some very tough operational decisions.

"As a charitable social enterprise and not-for-profit organisation, GLL hasn’t qualified for any government financial support schemes and millions of pounds of income have been lost in Cornwall since March."

They said they were "working hard to find a solution" and, together with local authorities across the south west, have been jointly lobbying the government for an urgent rescue package.

GLL was also awarded the running of all Cornwall Council-owned leisure centres in the same contract, and it added that, along with more than two thirds of council leisure services in England, there had similarly been no government funding for leisure services in Cornwall.

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They are currently waiting to hear the outcome of a funding bid to the Treasury from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, supported by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, which would help local authorities meet the costs of reopening and operating leisure services across the country.

James Curry, GLL’s head of service for Cornwall, said: “Everyone involved in this very difficult process is committed to trying to secure a positive outcome.

"GLL is a staff-owned organisation and, as such, recognises the valuable and essential role every member of our team plays in delivering our services. We also understand how much the local community loves the Princess Pavilion and all that it offers.

Falmouth Packet:

The Princess Pavilion in Falmouth is a popular events venue with its famous bandstand. Picture: Chris Bartram

"I must emphasise that this is a consultation process to look at the options. Quite simply, though, we cannot afford to carry on as we are.”

Seven permanent members of staff, plus nine casual employees, were put on furlough at the start of lockdown. Now, however, they have been told that their jobs are at risk.

Mr Curry added: “Throughout lockdown, GLL has done everything possible to support our colleagues but, with the furlough scheme coming to an end in October, we are having to re-shape our business.

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“We advised our Princess Pavilion employees that their jobs were at risk in mid-August and are now formally consulting with them about the future operation of the business.

"Our latest round of discussions with Cornwall Council is expected to conclude next week and decisions will then be made about the venue’s future."

However, some staff have been left feeling like it just a "tick box exercise", claiming that any ideas they put through about reopening have been brushed aside.

One staff member, who asked not to be named, claimed: "They don't see it as a profitable organisation. It's just very frustrating.

"They were very dismissive of any ideas we were putting forward, even though they asked us for ideas."

They added that the popular gardens had also been left without attention, saying: "It's like I Am Legend; there are four to five foot weeds growing out the pavement.

"Local people are missing walking through the gardens and going to the cafe. It's a bit of a hub."