New cultural hub in Lewes
Frequently asked questions
Why have former council offices in Lewes been turned into a new cultural hub?
This is the product of a five-year partnership between Lewes District Council, Charleston and East Sussex College Group. It will bring extensive educational opportunities, is a cultural asset for local people and is estimated to generate £4.2m of new visitor spend each year in the town. This support for town centre businesses is particularly welcome as high streets across the country struggle with vacant shops and a reduction in footfall.
Why is East Sussex College Group involved?
Education is a key driver for this project. The new cultural hub will run a free programme of community projects and a learning programme for state schools, further education and higher education groups. It is fitting that some of the first visitors through the door were a group of art students from East Sussex College Group visiting for an exhibition tour and careers talk.
Does Charleston own the building?
No, Lewes District Council remains the owner of the building and there is a rent-free period which is not unusual for commercial leases. This is a five-year lease agreement with Charleston using a model which is similar to many museums, galleries and cultural venues across the country including Brighton Pavilion, Towner, De La Warr Pavilion. Charleston has financed the recent work needed to improve and adapt the building.
Who runs the café at the cultural hub?
The café called Furci's is run by Lewes business Caccia and Tails which is a partner of Charleston. With no ongoing public funding, Charleston relies on some commercial revenue to support the charity's conservation, access and artistic programme. Charleston also has a gift shop at the venue.
Where has council moved to?
Lewes District Council has a new reception in central Lewes at 6 High Street and has office space for staff in Newhaven at the Marine Workshops.
This page will be updated with further questions and answers.