A FORMER lifeguard has taken over the role of general manager at Whitby Pavilion and has stated her ambition to put the venue back in the spotlight.
Helen Broadbent, of Sheffield International Venues, has pledged to build on the history of the building by making slight changes she hopes will return the Pavilion to its former glories.
The 42-year-old said: “Hopefully the Pavilion’s reached a point where it’s going to change direction. It’s entering a period of growth and redevelopment - not physical but in terms of the products and services to get it buzzing again.”
The change from manager of Ponds Forge, one of the largest swimming and sports centres in the country, to the Pavilion means that Miss Broadbent will encounter a completely new set of challenges.
“I’m most at home in Yorkshire and I love the sea,” she said. “We used to come to the coast as kids so it feels really nice for this opportunity to come to the coast and work with the Spa and the Pavilion.”
However, she has already been made aware of the long history of the building and must work out how its unique assets can be utilised.
One of the first projects will be a £20,000 rennovation of the cafe and box office area, with Miss Broadbent hoping that better signposting and marketing will make Whitby residents better aware of the facilities on offer.
“I don’t know why people think you need a ticket to go to the Pavilion for lunch,” she said, adding that the building is now set to remain open seven days a week throughout the winter season.
Plans are in place to enhance the events programme at the Pavilion, with established events such as Whitby Goth Weekend and the Bram Stoker film festival supplemented by new additions to the calendar, such as a monthly comedy roadshow which launches in November.
Miss Broadbent, who is also a former manager of the York Barbican has even suggested that she is looking into the possibilty of bringing a comic convention to the town.
The redevelopment could also lead to the creation of a small number of seasonal and permanent jobs, with Miss Broadbent adding: “I think we’ve got to take a punt at getting the staffing level numbers up. We’ve got a team here that are really resourceful, where everybody can do everything, but they need help. So we’ll be reviewing the structure and hopefully we can generate some job opportunities.”
The Friends of Whitby Pavilion are also due to play a key role in the future of the Pavilion. “They formed because they felt like the people who worked at the pavilion needed support,” said Miss Broadbent. “Some have a vested interest in the building, others just have fond memories. I’m committed to working with them and if they want to come and help us, that’s great. We’re going to work out how we can help each other.”
Sheffield International Venues have entered into a 10-year partnership with Scarborough Borough Council that will see them take over the day-to-day operations of Whitby Pavilion and the Scarborough Spa.
On 23 November comedian Toby Foster will launch the Last Laugh Comedy Roadshow at Whitby Pavilion.
Tickets are priced at £12. For more information about the Last Laugh Comedy or to buy tickets, visit www.whitbypavilion.co.uk or call 01947 604 855.