The sinking of ARRCC


ARRCC, the Activities Rehabilitation and Respite Care Centre on New Road, Rye has closed its doors. A resolution to be put to a meeting of members on Monday April 16 will initiate a creditors’ voluntary winding-up of the Rye-based operation ARRCC Ltd. The other main branch of the charity in Folkestone is not affected by the closure.
The failure of the Rye operation results in substantial losses to local traders and voluntary organisations, as well as individuals who have not been paid for their services. The Inland Revenue HMRC is owed in excess of £75,000, according to Mark Boast a representative of Insolvency Practitioners Compass Financial Recovery and Insolvency Ltd (Compass). The assets are minimal, consisting primarily of four transport vehicles, two subject to hire-purchase agreements, another valued at £1,000 and the fourth at scrap value.

Happier times – Members having fun at ARRCC Open Day

The charity moved Its base from the Rye Hospital site about nine years ago and took on the lease of the former Freda Gardham school on New Road from East Sussex County Council (ESCC). Its income came principally from local authority welfare budgets and from letting space to local artists for studios and workshops.
When government cut-backs began to bite, ESCC budgets were slashed and ARRCC’s income was drastically reduced. Attempts to replace this lost revenue saw various initiatives and income generating schemes, but these were mostly unsuccessful. A second-hand furniture warehouse opened and was closed. A second-hand shop in Cinque Ports Street in association with other charity workers ended in disagreements over profit-sharing. Its removal to other premises was less financially viable, in contrast to the Community Shop outlet run by volunteers which has gone from strength to strength. More recently, ambitious attempts to promote theatrical events at the Creative Centre have attracted funding support from various community sources, but proved unsustainable, absorbing resources without realising economic benefit.
The crunch point came with ARRCC’s non-adherence to tax payment schedules, and the non-renewal of the lease from ESCC, which expired last Thursday, April 5. Grace O’Neill, the Chief Executive Officer had departed on March 8 as reported in Rye News. Notices of impending liquidation were issued to creditors on April 3 and the doors to the Centre were locked last Friday April 6, with security guards patrolling the premises over the weekend. Tony Moore, chair of trustees has declined to be interviewed, referring enquiries to Compass.
On Monday April 9, the artists’ studio tenants were invited to meet with Graham Glenn of ESCC Estates Department and were offered a short-term three-month licence to occupy, with the hope expressed that someone or some organisation would come forward to take over the running of the facility, apparently on a full-repairing lease.
ARRCC has filled a real social and caring role for its clients. It has provided a wide range of services and has certainly helped people with physical or sensory disabilities to make the most of life. Occupational therapy services at the Creative Centre included gardening, fishing expeditions and the development of creative skills. ARRCC has run a day-centre service for the over 65s at Magdala House, Ferry Road. Its outreach activities included  the provision of home care in needy cases. Its transport fleet encouraged mobility for its less mobile clients.  ARRCC will be sadly missed in Rye.

Photos: Chris Cleere and Kenneth Bird

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  1. How sad for Rye and all those who were helped over the years through the various ARRCC activities. However, those interested in gardening could find that the Community Garden in Love Lane fills that particular hole.
    Anyone interested in coming along could make contact through our e-mail address:

  2. This has been a very sad event indeed. ARRCC has provided a caring and therapeutic environment for their members over the years. I myself have provided a music therapy service for the last ten years and have shared the shock with my clients. It seemed to happen very suddenly with insufficient time for alternatives to be found. The Music Well is trying to find some alternatives for those members who were accessing our music therapy provision.

  3. How very sad indeed, another victim of local government cuts ? I note the sentence in the report that mentions short term arrangements for artists etc. rental of space – this seems at odds with Councillor Glazier’s statement at the recent Rye Town meeting that ESCC would continue to rent out units to local artists etc. and that this use was likely to continue until the plot could be released for development no earlier than 2020. Perhaps he would like to clarify as I don’t recall any mention that a main leaseholder taking on a full repairing lease would need to be found

  4. The closure of the ARRCC in Rye, a charity that provided rehabilitation services to those with physical and sensory impairments including the elderly, is very sad news. A contributory factor to ARRCC’s closure is the Government’s funding cuts to Local Authorities, which our MP Amber Rudd supported – shame on her. With incredulity I read that Rudd is hosting a ‘Seniors’ Fair’ in Rye on Saturday April 14 for people wishing to make ‘the most of retirement’, with private companies like Stagecoach offering their services. Bette Davis famously said ‘old age is no place for sissies’ but it seems Rudd wants to make being elderly more difficult for poorer people.
    It is interesting to note that, unusually, the article on Rudd’s appearance in Rye doesn’t include the ability to ‘Post a Comment’ – why would that be?

  5. There is avery clear message sent from ESCC that I hope will soon be printed here
    It makes clear there has been no reduction in funding from the Council, people making individual choices with their individual budget is for service users to make a choice.
    I have no idea where the financial problem has occurred.
    It is a very sad time as County Councillor for the area I have always supported ARRCC and know the Council Officers have work hard to support.
    On the Creative centre I remain committed to ensure it remains a vibrant centre, this unexpected transition will take a bit of time hence the interim 3 month licences being operated by the Council

  6. “I have no idea where the financial problem has occurred” says Keith Glazier. I suggest he takes a look at page 5 of the 2014 (including the comparative figures for 2013) and the 2015 accounts at Companies House.

  7. This story was published without Rye News coming to the county council for a comment. We provided a comment on Friday (13) but it has still not been added.
    This is our comment:
    An East Sussex County Council spokesman said: “This building has been leased by the council to ARRCC Ltd, a registered charity, on a peppercorn rent since 2014, with the company running it as a creative arts centre and receiving rental income from resident artists.
    “We were in the process of agreeing a new lease, to replace the existing one due to expire on April 5, but were made aware they were experiencing significant financial difficulties. The directors had appointed a recovery agent to review their status and had decided to place the company in liquidation.
    “As a temporary measure, we have agreed to take over management of the complex to enable it to remain operational for an initial transition period of three months, while we seek to set up new management arrangements for its long-term future.
    “The council has separately been commissioning ARRCC Ltd to provide day care and home care services to around 40 adult social care clients – older people and adults with disabilities.
    “We are urgently working with all of these clients to provide alternative services on a temporary basis to replace those provided by ARRCC, and to find suitable long-term solutions to cater for their care needs.
    “It’s regrettable that ARRCC Ltd, to which the council has provided considerable financial support for a number of years, finds itself in this situation.
    “Our priorities now are to ensure that we are able to manage the transition for our adult social care clients as smoothly and as sensitively as possible and to agree arrangements affecting the future of the building and its resident artists.
    “ARRCC has not seen any cuts to the funding it receives from the council.”

  8. In 2005 my wife entered hospital for what she was told would be a minor operation,during the procedure there were complications,and she was left fighting for her life,she spent a a year in hospital coming home in early 2006,still very ill,slowly she made some semblance of a recovery but had suffer brain damage and likely never recover,to date she has remain the same,she started to go to the arrcc centre at Rye Memorial Hospital,till it was close then to the Creative Arts Centre Rye,i was never really happy with Creative Arts Centre i felt there was something missing,it was in a old run down building that was built for another purpose,but i am sure that staff and volunteers,did their best,although my wife was happy there and enjoyed going there,and there was activities arts and crafts outing and social events,i think this helped my wife enormously,i would feel during it’s time arrcc helped many people as well as carers,i would point out that we paid arrcc so
    i am not sure how arrcc was funded?many of the clients or people who went arrcc are very much worse off than my wife,yet here we are they just wash here hands and walk away,my wife worked as a civilian for the metropolitan police for 28 years,and for Royal Artillery Records,for several more years,yet that’s how she is repaid,funding cut’s, that’s how we treat those who cannot defend them selves,we can send millions abroad to dodgy unstable countries,yet we cut funding to our most vulnerable. we can spend millions on a pier art’s centre,and now more millions on a proposed marina partly to be fund i believe from the public purse yet we have no dedicated building for the disabled,


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