A COMMUNITY arts centre in Taunton said it needs financial support to avoid a permanent closure.

Taunton Creative Innovation Centre CIC (also known as CICCIC, ‘kick-kick’) on Paul Street could soon close its doors after surviving austerity cuts and the Covid pandemic thanks to the directors’ personal finances “which are now exhausted”.

The centre, which is a not-for-profit Community Interest Company and social enterprise is now asking the community and the council for support.

Fellow founding director Richard Holt added: “In the 12 years that CICCIC has been offering community connections through arts and culture, it has never been funded for its core activities.

“We’ve been through austerity cuts, nearly two years of closure during the pandemic, yet have continued to survive by dedicating our personal finances, which are now exhausted, and we need financial support if we are to continue the work we do at CICCIC, Arts Hub (Flook House) and in the community.

“The ‘CICCIC’s Future at Risk’ campaign is designed to get everyone involved and there are over eight ways people can help. From donating money, sending letters to their councillors or volunteering. No matter how small it all helps.”

CICCIC was created 12 years ago to promote creative activity and provide a home for local artists and musicians, and a venue for people to enjoy a variety of arts and culture experiences including live music, comedy, art exhibitions, workshops, dance, community events and a safe social space for all ages.

Somerset County Gazette: The CICCIC is currently based on Paul StreetThe CICCIC is currently based on Paul Street (Image: Contributed)

It also operates the Arts Hub at Flook House in Belvedere Rd, which provides a home for other community organisations that help deliver creative activities for Taunton’s young people and arts and health projects. CICCIC winner of the ‘Best Community Arts & Culture Venue 2023′ – South West England’ Award, also received a Certificate of Thanks in 2024 from Taunton Town Council, in recognition of its contribution to the creative and social well-being of Taunton.

Although the potential closure of CICCIC has been met with disappointment from the local community, its significance to the economic and cultural potential of Taunton will have an impact on Taunton’s cultural and tourism offers if it is to close.

Founding director of CICCIC, Andrew Knutt, told Taunton Town Council that the venue, which boasts a cinema screen, art gallery, performance/dance, and workshop space, will be forced to close if it does not get support from the local council and community.

Cllr Caroline Ellis, co-chair of the Taunton Town Council Arts and Culture Working Group said: “To lose CICCIC now would be devastating for the people of our town just at the time Taunton is becoming better known as a great base for creatives. Our residents are, now more than ever, needing the opportunities and support they provide.”

Over the years CICCIC’s impact and delivery has been impressive with over 1,020 art workshops with 1,960 people taking part, 1,500 live music events supporting over 7,000 musicians, an audience of over 100,000 people. The centre also featured 160 arts and heritage exhibitions, 240 poetry and creative writing events, 200 film and documentary screenings, 120 dance events and 10 local festivals, 60 rural outreach art events and activities, 96 comedy events.

The centre added that over 3,000 young people were involved in creative activity, 800 club and community gatherings supporting over 8,000 people.

They donated over 7,800 venue hours for free for community use to the value of £312,000, helped raise over £80,000 for other charities and local arts organisations, and paid out nearly £1m for musicians and artist fees with 80 per cent going to local artists and delivered over 65 community projects.

A public meeting at CICCIC, designed to provide more detail and unite people for the campaign, has been set for Wednesday, June 5.

For more information visit www.ciccic.co.uk/future