Council set to help Jazz Centre find new home in the City

Southend-on-Sea City Council is working with The Jazz Centre UK (TJCUK) to help find a new home to accommodate the charity’s events, exhibitions and archives.

The front of the Beecroft art gallery.

This will provide additional space for the council to display collections at the Beecroft Gallery.

Since 2016, the council has provided a space free of charge to TJCUK in the lower ground of the Beecroft Gallery. This has enabled the volunteer-led charity to host events, promote contemporary performance and display a history of jazz music for visitors to the gallery. However, this space is now required by the council to house its ever-growing heritage collections. The council is therefore giving TJCUK twelve months’ notice to leave the Beecroft. The council will help TJCUK find an alternative space within the City so that both organisations can achieve their cultural aims.

Cllr Carole Mulroney, cabinet member for environment, culture and tourism, said: “The Beecroft has provided an excellent base for The Jazz Centre UK to develop, but with the Beecroft collection and the museums service needing more space to show its own collection, the search is on for The Jazz Centre UK to find a new home in Southend-on-Sea.

“We have an increasing heritage collection to put on display and more artefacts coming from the London shipwreck so we will need to accommodate this and many items currently in storage need to be put on display. Feedback with residents has been that they want to see more of our City’s heritage offer and we need to use our existing stock and make value for money decisions.

“Having a nationally renowned jazz centre is great for the City, so we will be pleased to help TJCUK find alternative accommodation to meet their future ambitions.”

Gareth Evans, chair of the trustees of The Jazz Centre UK, said: “We are very grateful for the support the council has given us since we opened our doors in 2016. However, we are disappointed at its sudden decision to ask us to leave the Beecroft and find a new home. This decision puts TJCUK in some jeopardy. We will do everything we can, with the council’s ongoing support, to find a new home in Southend that can deliver our vision of a national centre of excellence for jazz, embracing education, outreach and performance.”

Published: 2nd August 2022

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