Warminster Town Councillors have voted to give the Athenaeum Centre for the Community a £60,000 grant.
The money from the grant will come from the Dewey Trust and will be paid in two tranches, £30,000 now and £30,000 in the next financial year.
The money will be match funded by others to cover the cost of the £120,000 project.
The £120,000 will be used to integrate the Athenaeum with the Close Centre Building. The Close had been owned by Wiltshire Council but was recently transferred to the Athenaeum Trust. The rooms occupied by the Close will enable the Athenaeum to use the building more flexibly, providing a wider variety of uses and offer better pre-show hospitality. Amalgamation of the two buildings will require urgent works to the external fabric of the Close Centre and upgrades to its utilities and services. The funding will also go towards providing more and better dressing rooms.
Councillor Chris Robbins
“I am delighted that this investment is being made in the Athenaeum Centre. The Athenaeum has been a feature of Warminster for 172 years and is much more than just a theatre, it is a real community asset. It is held in trust for the people of Warminster.”
“It is a significant achievement by the trustees and volunteers that the Athenaeum has been kept open and providing a range of entertainments and services to local people. Over the past 20 years the trustees have raised £750,000 which has been spent on improvements to the Athenaeum.”
Councillors were keen to stress that because the money for the grant came from the Dewey Trust, it would not impact on the council tax paid by residents.
The Dewey Trust derives from the will of Mr Harold Dewey, a famous Warminster Resident, well known as a local Councillor, school teacher and head master. He died in 1971 and left a legacy to the then Urban District Council, which has since been transferred to the Town Council. Part of the Athenaeum was previously a school, the headmaster of which at one time was Harold Dewey. Harold Dewey’s headmasters room is now the bar of the Athenaeum main function rooms!
Last modified: 7 October 2022