22. Building and Events Update – Monday 23rd January 2023

Better outlook for the West Street Arts Centre building!

In the week following Wednesday 4th January, we only had water coming in through the café toilet ceiling, and that was only after a heavy night of rain. The contractors stopped it immediately. All other rooms have remained leak-free. Heaters and borrowed dehumidifiers have been on for a few hours daily. The building is feeling better – though still smelling damp in various places.
Room 1 is feeling quite good now.
On Monday 9th January, Tuesday 10th January and Wednesday 11th January, very successful work parties slaved away sorting, tidying, checking & dealing with remaining damp stuff & paperwork.
The easel cupboard is unrecognisable – Dave Owen & Ken Davies had to take out the old shelving unit which was sodden at the wall end and possible harbouring mould. The tables and easels can be stored in the alcove there now.
Di Davies, Sheena Stewart, Christine Finlayson, Barbara Hegarty and Jane Kelly worked on going through all the old craft and textile stuff which was stored there – and huge amounts have been discarded (it hadn’t been looked at for 20 years and was thoroughly damp and smelly) or passed on to people who might use it.
Alister McDonald did a great job with trips to the recycling centre, and checking out the cloak room – which is also reorganised.
Florance Kennedy and Christine Finlayson looked through a pile of files and paperwork (including the saturated archive from room 3, plus files and paperwork that had been dripped on in the office) and we now know what’s OK, and what needs to be dried further.
Rik Smith did a great job in the office and elsewhere, pulling out wet files, paperwork and equipment, getting rid of damaged, old or useless items etc.
On Tuesday afternoon, Dave made more trips to the recycling centre and did numerous other jobs and errands, Carol Mann did a good job with finishing the sorting and tidying in room 3, and Christina Suter was very helpful with the remaining boxes that needed sorting through from the office. Several people volunteered for the final work party on Wednesday morning (thank you Ulla Hipkin, Lynda Smith and Elizabeth Nallon), but there wasn’t much to do, and two of us (Christine Finlayson and myself) finished the cleaning and tidying so that room 1 was ready for the storytelling event on Friday evening (13th January – a very lucky day for us!).
In the afternoon of Monday 9th January, I met with the contractors, who are taking full responsibility. They inspected all ceilings – they are all safe. The cafe ceiling needs repair and they promised to do it. On Tuesday morning they fixed a temporary board over the crack in the ceiling to make it safe. When the outside work is finished, they will make the ceiling good and repaint.
The café opened on Monday 16th January quite safely – it’s just that the ceiling by the window won’t look very pretty for a while.
The contractors checked all the ceilings upstairs and all are safe. They will undertake the cosmetic filling of new cracks and will decorate.
They said they will decorate the whole of the easel cupboard and the cafe toilet.
They also agreed to fit a new ceiling over the Events stairs as part of the compensation.
They will pay excess electricity bills for the power we’ve had to use to dry the place out.

After a week of no further leaks, and keeping heaters on and running the borrowed dehumidifiers for several hours every day, we now see a huge improvement to how things feel in the Arts Centre.
The contractors returned from Christmas Leave on the 9th January and have been very attentive to remaining small problems. We are thankful that they came out within half an hour of us calling the emergency number – twice! – during their holiday.

Unfortunately, we lost January’s exhibitor, Brian Nicholson. Brian was offered space at the Riccio Gallery in Dalkeith and we encouraged him to take up the offer because time was running out and for a while we had no idea if we’d suffer further leaks or not.
We’ve also lost a significant room let for James Chapman’s permaculture course. He had block booked several weekends. James understandably felt that it was too early to know if the building would remain 100% leak-free during the roofing works, and he didn’t want the stress of a possible last minute cancellation. Of course we entirely understand this, but regret the loss of valuable income.

We are going ahead with our other planned activities at the Arts Centre (see the list below) but please keep an eye open for notice of last minute changes of venue! It will be some time before we all feel 100% confident that the roof won’t leak again during the works.
I’d like to give huge thanks to the following volunteers for their offers of time and dehumidifiers. The response has been wonderful and it’s meant we’ve been able to restore our Arts Centre to a tidy semblance of order in a relatively short time, even though there’s still much drying, tidying and decorating to be done (though some of that was needed even before the roof leaks!):
Di Davies, Ken Davies, Dave Owen, Jenni Thomson, Sarah Stewart, Sheena Stewart, Barbara Hegarty, Jane Kelly, Alister McDonald, Christine Finlayson, Florance Kennedy, Rik Smith, Carol Mann, Christina Suter, Ulla Hipkin, Elizabeth Nallon, Lynda Smith, Diane Jackson, Roma Robertson, Roger Hipkin, Brian Miller, James Chapman, and the contractors.


Tuesdays – Embroidery Group private room hire

Wednesday mornings – PCAA Yarn Group – group is full, but contact penicuikarts.org@gmail.com if interested

Wednesday evenings – Penicuik Community Choir room hire https://penicuikcommunitychoir.co.uk/

(For events listed below, please see posters and relevant web site pages for more details)

Thursday 2nd Feb 7:30pm – 9pm – Drama group room hire
Tuesday 7th Feb 7pm – Singing workshop – fully booked
Friday 10th Feb 7:30pm – Storytelling club with guest Peter Chand – £5/£3
Saturday 11th Feb all day until 3pm – Storytelling workshop with Peter Chand
Saturday 11th Feb 3pm-5pm – Music group – group now full
Sunday 19th feb 3pm Artisan string trio concert – £15/£10
Monday 20th Feb evening – Leadburn woodland group room hire
Tuesday 21st Feb 7pm – Singing workshop – fully booked
Saturday 25th Feb 3pm-5pm – Music group – group now full
Saturday 25th Feb 7:30pm – Concert, Music from Shetland and beyond – £10/£5
Tuesday 7th March 7pm – Singing workshop – fully booked
Friday 10th March 7:30pm – Storytelling club with guest Lauren Bianchi – £5/£3
Saturday 11th Mar 3pm-5pm – Music group – group now full
Sunday 19th March 3pm Scots Baroque concert – £15/£10
Monday 20th March evening – Leadburn woodland group room let
Tuesday 21st March 7pm – Singing workshop – fully booked
Saturday 25th Mar 3pm-5pm – Music group – group now full
Friday 31st March 7pm – Singing workshop – fully booked
Saturday 8th April 3pm-5pm – Music group – group now full
Friday 14th April 7:30pm – Storytelling Club with guest Kate Corkery – £5/£3
Saturday 15th April all day until 3pm – Storytelling workshop with guest Kate Corkery
Sunday 16th April 3pm Ailie Robertson concert – £15/£10
Saturday 22nd April 3pm-5pm – Music group – group now full
Sunday 7th May 3pm Ad Libitum concert – £15/£10
Saturday 20th May 1:30 – 3pm – Storytelling workshop
Friday 30th June 7:30pm – Adam Holmes, Edinburgh singer/songwriter concert – £15/£10