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Hebrides News


An Lanntair in Stornoway is continuing to consult on the possibility of Sunday opening.


However, the arts centre will not open all weekend at present.


At a board meeting on Wednesday directors opted to remain shut on Sundays and not test demand for operating on Sundays.


However, they did agree to “commit to identifying a way for a trial to take place” in the future.


It follows a review into the “existing operational challenges” in opening on Sundays.


As such the board decided “we are not currently in a position to announce a Sunday trial.”


The issue will be looked at again in the coming months.


Despite speculation there was no specific option to open for a Sunday cinema.


Meanwhile, a “significant review of what it means for opening on a Sunday,” will be undertaken, explained Elly Fletcher, chief executive of An Lanntair.


“Considerable support” emerged through a consultation - albeit an early limited exercise - through interviews with some “existing audience members, visitors and the wider community” in the summer.


The arts centre membership plus staff were also asked for their views for a trial ahead of this week’s board meeting.


The large membership base was told they were looking at how it “develop and improve the offer” at the facility and there was “significant support” for a pilot run.


A letter to members indicated they were “proposing to potentially start a trial of Sunday opening from November.”


Such an initial six month pilot would to test demand and interest from the public.

Primarily a trial would see if opening on Sundays over the winter months would be “popular with local people looking for high quality indoor cultural activities for the whole family during the off-peak season.”

But the facility recognises that a substantial section of its audiences are not members so it wishes to consult with them and the wider community.


A statement said: “As the major arts centre and a creative and community hub on the Isle of Lewis, we believe it is important that we listen to our audiences, and that we try our best to serve all their needs.


“Equality and access are at the heart of this, and a core part of our mission and values.

“To help us understand audience demand, during the summer we carried out a consultation exercise with some existing audience members, visitors and the wider community.


“We asked a number of questions, including one to gauge the level of interest in access to the arts centre on Sundays. The responses from this initial consultation showed some considerable support for Sunday opening.


“As a result, we then asked our membership whether they would be in favour of a trial period of Sunday opening during the coming winter, to further test demand and inform our future plans.


“A significant majority of the members responding to our consultation have told us that they would be in favour of a Sunday opening trial.”


The statement added: “In a meeting on 13th September 2017, An Lanntair's Board of Directors agreed to commit to identifying a way for a trial to take place in the future.


“For the time being, however, following the review we have undertaken into the existing operational challenges associated with opening on Sundays, our board has decided we are not currently in a position to announce a Sunday trial at An Lanntair.”

No Sunday opening for An Lanntair this winter

14 Sept 2017