THE Brewery Arts Centre has revealed it will be shedding almost three dozen staff due to the financial impact of Covid-19.

The Kendal arts hub and entertainment venue confirmed this week that 32 staff members will be made redundant, following a business restructure and consultation process.

With the pandemic making live events ‘unviable’, the centre has been forced to lay off almost 40 per cent of its employees, including those previously contributing to the centre’s running on the basis of more casual working arrangements.

Commenting on the news this week, the Brewery’s CEO, Miriam Randall, said: “Covid-19 has had a catastrophic impact on arts venues, making many live events unviable with social distancing in place.

“The Brewery is one of many organisations having to reshape its business model to withstand the current into the future.”

The Kendal arts centre is one of a number of major entertainment venues in Cumbria/the Lakes to make considerable staff number reductions in recent weeks, as government support schemes begin to taper off and the culture sector braces itself for [the] tough autumn and winter months ahead.

Keswick’s Theatre By The Lake, for instance, announced several dozen redundancies earlier this month due to changes in the Government’s furlough scheme and new social distancing rules.

Ms Randall explained: “Following a restructure in consultation with our staff, we will sadly see 32 members of the team being made redundant or ending casual contracts.

“This has been incredibly tough for everyone concerned and my thanks go to the entire staff team for their resilience and understanding during this unprecedented time of change.

“The remaining 53 staff are working hard to reconfigure and upgrade the venue to provide the safest and most enjoyable experience possible for our community and customers.”

The Brewery is set to reopen next month. Its first re-opening phase, which centres around non-live entertainment, creative learning courses and a transformed informal-style food and drink offering.

But the loss of much-loved performances and community arts activities during the pandemic, as well as the resulting job cuts, have been deeply felt in the South Lakes.

Commenting on the news, district council leader, Cllr Giles Archibald, said: "The Brewery is a wonderful cultural asset to Kendal and the North West. I am delighted it is reopening soon and I am sure that the community is eager to get back there.

"Job losses are enormously regrettable and my thoughts and best wishes go out to those who are affected. I know the board will have examined all the options and will have worked hard to minimise the impact of these changes.

"These are difficult times. SLDC is determined to collaborate with the Brewery and other strategic partners to protect the essential value that they bring to the community."

Westmorland and Lonsdale MP, Tim Farron, said: “This is devastating news for the 32 people who have lost their jobs and for all of us who love the Brewery Arts Centre.

“The Government’s decision to phase out the furlough scheme before theatres are even allowed to open is sadly proving to have severe consequences.

“If we are to avoid any more stories like this then the Government simply must listen to our calls for more support for the worst hit sectors such as the arts, culture, hospitality and tourism.”