Petition organised against Sunday opening of Stornoway arts centre

Protestors outside the venue at the pilot Sunday openings made their views clear. Now a petition is in circulation to gather public support against the venue opening all weekend in the future.
Protestors outside the venue at the pilot Sunday openings made their views clear. Now a petition is in circulation to gather public support against the venue opening all weekend in the future.

In answer to a recent decision by An Lanntair arts centre in Stornoway to open its doors seven days a week as soon as “operationally possible” it has been reported that a petition has been circulated locally to gather public support against the move.

The petition, titled ‘Community Statement’, says that until now there has been no formal means by which the community can make a collective representation.

It goes on to say that many will want to sign the statement and express, in a tangible way, their support for maintaining a peaceful Sunday in the Islands.

An Lanntair told the Gazette this week that their three-Sunday pilot opening of the venue once a month from January to March resulted in sold out cinema tickets with overall numbers recorded using the centre as: 311, 235, 292 respectively.

However, the arts organisation was reluctant to reveal how much actual profit had been made on each of the three Sundays.

When asked by the Gazette if they were concerned about the potential loss of public support on other days of the week if Sunday openings continue and how they would monitor this, they vaguely answered: “Business performance across the organisation is monitored regularly and reported to the board.”

When the Sunday pilot first began in January social media comments had suggested that the membership of An Lanntair may be impacted by the controversial decision.

However, the arts organisation confirmed that only one person out of its 377-strong membership had cancelled due to their feelings about the Sunday trial.

In announcing the decision to open on Sundays in the future An Lanntair said: “It is important to be clear that An Lanntair exists to serve the entire community, and can serve different parts of it in different ways.

“Our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion means that we are continuously seeking new ways to support people to access our programme, services and activities.”

Like any other business, An Lanntair, is dependent on making a profit to keep the doors open and it will be interesting to see if the decision to open all weekend in the future will be a financially wise one.